We didn’t plant corn this year, we’ve tried twice and it either didn’t produce or got knocked down in storms (and never came back up), so we decided to not waste precious garden space with planting corn.
Instead, I purchased 5 dozen from a local farmer (I love supporting local farmers and I know where the food came from!) The total price was $20, which was about $5 more than some I purchased last year, but then again everything has gone up.
I played around with canning two years ago and got pretty serious with it last year. I was terrified of a pressure canner, but soon got over that fear when I started seeing how easy it was to can your own food!
Before we get started here, let me go ahead and say I am using the directions out of the Ball Blue Book.
(You can order you a copy here!) There are variations of the Ball Book, but this is the one I use.
This was the best $10 preparedness investment I’ve made in a long time! I reference this book constantly and so far every recipe has turned out perfect!
Now, let me show you how easy this is….
Step 1 - Get your corn.
Start shucking the corn. For me, this is the hardest part. Pull as many of the silks off the corn with the shuck too! You basically grab the silk tassle at the top and pull downward to remove silk and shuck. I leave the bottom of stalk attached (as you can see in the picture) so I have something to hold onto when I start cutting the kernels off.
Once you have all your shucks and most of the silks removed then move on to Step 2.
Step 2 -Remove the remaining silks
I think removing the silks is the most aggravating part of preparing corn! Maybe I need new glasses but I just can’t – for- the – life of me see them! and I hate sitting down to eat corn and finding a silk!
So, I run lots of water of the corn and use a vegetable brush to bring the remaining silks out of in between the kernels. Rinse, brush, rinse and set aside.
Step 3 – Cutting the kernels off the cob
I wanted to can this corn ‘whole kernel’ so I simply cut the kernels off the cob into a colander for easy rinsing. I rinse one more time in order to capture any loose silks. So, I cut 1/2 a dozen ears, wash, rinse, wash and transfer to another pot so I can use my colander for more ears. I continue this process until all the corn kernels are cut from the ears. The corn cobs go to the chickens or compost.
Step 4 – Get your jars ready & start the heat on the canner
This step, for me, includes 3 things.
1) I go ahead and fill the pressure canner 1/2 full of water, add a cup of vinegar (just keeps the water clean and helps keep the inside of the canner clean) and start the heat.
2) I put on a pot a water and start it on the stove. This water must come to a boil and will ultimately be the water you pour over the corn after it’s in the jar.
3) Put my lids and rings into a small saucepan of water on low heat. These don’t need to boil, but they must get warm.
Step 5 – Add corn to jars
Let me add here, my jars have either been warming in the oven or washed and drying in the dishwasher. Usually if I’m going to put them in the dishwasher I do this towards the end of step 3. If I place them in the oven, I turn the oven on 170 degrees and let them warm up in there.
Following the raw pack method in the Ball Canning Book, I simply ladle the corn into the quart jars. Don’t pack the corn in the jar, just loosely fill up to the bottom of the neck of the jar.
I then add 1 tsp. of salt to each jar.
Next comes the water.
I use my Ball Canning funnel – which I must say is the greatest thing since sliced bread! It’s one funnel that can be used for all sizes of jars. Only $5.99 at my local grocery!
Now that the boiling water has been added to the jars (up to the bottom of the neck of the jar), it’s time to add the lids and rings. I take these off the stove, wipe around the tops of all the jars with a clean towel, and add the lids and rings.
Carefully place your jars in your pressure canner.
Step 6 – The pressure canner
I use a 7 qt. pressure canner which I purchased from Wal-mart 2 years ago for roughly $45. It has the weight on top that clues me to the pressure. Please be sure and follow the manufacturer directions for your particular pressure canner. They are all different.
For the amount of water to add to the pressure cooker – please refer to your manufacturer’s directions! This is pertinent as each pressure canner is different.
Now, with my water heating up and jars in place, I add the lid.
For my canner there is a V on one handle that must match up to the V on the lid. This helps the person using the canner make sure it is lined up properly – proper alignment is to ensure the lid is on correctly which ultimately could prevent an accident.
Step 7 – Pressure builds
The lid of my canner has a “chimney” on it that will raise up when the pressure has built. After this chimney raises it normally takes about 10 minutes before the weight (picture on the left) will start jiggling. The weight on the top comes as a 5 lb. weight but then there is another weight you add to it to make it 10 lbs.
For corn, you need 10 lbs. of pressure. So I added one weight.
You’ll hear a lot of boiling inside the canner while the pressure is building and that’s normal. Don’t start counting your “processing” time until the weight starts jiggling or if you’re using a canner with a pressure gauge – wait until the pressure is at 10 lbs.
Step 8 – The Countdown
Once the weight starts jiggling, I start counting the processing time. Once the time is up, I turn the heat off and let the canner sit there. You have to let the pressure inside the canner release which, for my canner, can take 30 minutes to an hour.
Don’t ever remove the lid of the canner until the pressure has fully dropped.
The chimney on my canner will go back down flush with the lid which is an indication the pressure has released from the canner. At which time, the lid can be removed. If you’re using a gauge the pressure will return to zero.
Please don’t try some wierd way of hurrying this process along (it could be very dangerous) and Always refer to your manufacturer instructions, please!
Step 9 – The finished product!
Set the jars on a towel on the counter top with space in between them. Allow them to cool – they are extremely HOT when they come out of the canner. You’ll need a gripper to remove them, but Ball sells these too!
As the jars cool, you’ll hear a pop indicating the jar sealed. Sometimes I’m not always around to hear the pop but the lids I use will show a slight circle indention (made that way) so you can visually see if the jar sealed. If after cooling you are able to push the middle of lid up and down – then that’s an indication the jar did not seal.
Any jars that do not seal (which I’ve only ever had 1 not to seal), I suggest using the product the same day or the next day. The food inside will be cooked but not safe for long-term storage.
I remove my rings and then add the jars to storage!
Pretty easy overall.
So how long did all this take?
- Prep time (corn, jars, etc.) 2 hours
- Processing time in canner 1 hour 25 minutes
- Canner to release pressure: about 45 minutes
- Total time: 4 hours and 20 minutes
But during most of that time I was doing something else too! My real time investment was the 2 hours in the prep work.
I hope this helps someone out that is just beginning! Be sure and get you a Ball Blue Book – it’s priceless in my opinion! And for safe operation – read your manufacturer’s instructions for your steam pressure canner.
One more time – for full instructions on how to use your pressure (steam) canner – fully read the manufacturer’s directions – that’s what they are there for and to ensure your safety. Thanks!