It’s the day of the show y’all! (If you watched the movie Best in Show you’ll know where that quote is from!) Today was the day that I harvested my first corn. I was nervous, having never done this before, and I’ve been waiting to see when is exactly the right moment. So I’ve been peeking inside the husks (that’s what the experts say to do) to determine if it was the right time. And I didn’t want to wait too long – because then the corn would be dry. The tassels have been brown for a while but even as the tassels turned brown, I noticed that the corn husks kept growing, and bulking up.
It’s been a little windy here as well. And one of my 6 stalks tried to flop over. So I staked him up until I was ready to harvest, but it did make me think that sooner rather than later would be a good time to get them off the stalk.
Experts say to harvest in the morning, but it gets hot so quickly that I waited until early evening to pick my first corn. I asked my husband to come outside with me because I knew I would need two hands to do this right – but I wanted you to see how it happened!
I took the corn husk that was closest to my height, grabbed it fully around the widest part, pulled down and it broke away from the stalk as I twisted. It felt really substantial in my hand, not like the smaller ones in the store. This was a mighty ear of corn!
I was still nervous though, because I wasn’t sure if I had picked it at the correct time for maximum freshness and flavor. The test for corn, is two fold. First, it’s just a visual test: does the corn look like it’s ready to be picked. I did peek in once about two weeks ago, and it actually didn’t look ready. The kernels at the top looked a little green, and quite small. Today, when I pulled the husk back, the corn kernels were large, puffy, and healthy looking. The second test is to place your fingernail inside one of the kernels, and see what liquid is emitted. The corn kernel should produce a milky white substance if it is ready to be picked. And mine did! I felt like I had won the lottery!
It has been such a joy to grow corn in my front yard garden. Watching it grow, waiting for it to ripen, seeing the corn husks get large, and the tassels darken. It was all great fun. And neighbors and family enjoyed it as well. Many times in the evening, neighbors on their nightly constitutional would stop and ask me when I was going to pick the corn!
Now I have one more problem, though. I have about 22 ears of corn on my 6 stalks. I’d like to eat the corn fresh off the stalk – but there’s only two of us – so if I were to use 2 corn ears per night – that would take 11 nights. (And do I really want to eat corn for 11 nights straight?) Eleven days from now the corn will probably be too ripe to be in optimal eating condition, so that doesn’t feel like an option.
I wish I could have a great big party, invite all the fam, and have everybody enjoy corn fresh from the field (or rather the front yard.) But, sigh, we’re in a pandemic, and, well, you know.
So, I’m going to harvest them all now, and then freeze them with the husk on. I think it’s possible. The internet says so. I’ll tell you how it tastes! But tonight we feast on fresh picked corn, grown with my own hands, in my little plot of land here in the San Fernando Valley. Just livin’ the dream!