Why is my heirloom corn so starchy

Snakeskingardens(7)July 12, 2012

I'm growing heirloom corn this year, my first planting is ready to pick. I've boiled some ears and they've cooked 16 minutes but still seem firm and starchy. Is this typical with heirlooms? Not your typical hybrid peaches and cream these kernels are large and chewy.

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farmerdill

all the open pollinated sweet corn has a small harvest window, but like all corn it depends on the variety. in any event you waited too long to harvest. We could be more helpful if you specified variety.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 8:08PM
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RpR_(3-4)

Have you ever picked sweet corn to eat before?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:01PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I totally agree...you picked too late. I'll add that 16 minutes is a bit long for cooking corn, unless you're counting the time it takes to boil the water without the corn in it. I strongly suggest bringing the water to a good boil, adding the corn, and boiling for a couple of minutes before turning the water off...let it sit for another minute or two. You don't want to boil the flavor and freshness out of corn.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:42PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Like Farmerdill, I wonder what variety was grown. SIG, I noticed you said "heirloom corn", not "heirloom sweet corn". Many heirloom corns are for flour or other purposes.

Assuming that the variety is one bred for sweet corn, several things could cause poor quality. As previously mentioned, it could have been picked too late.

It also could have crossed with another corn - such as a field corn - that caused the starchy kernels. Corn is one of the few plants that can be directly changed by cross pollination... not in next year's seed (like most vegetables) but in this year's flavor.

If your garden is in or near an area where field corn is grown, I would consider this to be the most likely cause of the starchiness. If you grew more than one variety of corn, that too could be the cause, since corn is wind pollinated.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 1:25AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

There are only a very few open pollinated sweet corn seed readily available--Golden Bantam, Country Gentleman, and Stowell's Evergreen. Did you grow one of these?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 6:24AM
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denninmi(8a)

I would also add that anyone who is used to only the very sweet types of corns found in today's commercial supply chain would probably experience a bit of "culture shock" when tasting an open-pollinated "heirloom sweet corn" for the first time. I know that my first time growing some of these a few years back, Golden Bantam, Shoepeg/Country Gentleman, Black Aztec, Rainbow Sweet Inca, and Guarijio Red, was my LAST time for purposes of fresh consumption.

Blech! Horrible, horrible. Never again.

A couple of them do make nice ornamental corns, the Black Aztec being the best of them.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 7:25AM
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RpR_(3-4)

Rhizo:
I never deliberately boil my corn less than twenty minutes and that includes the water being at least simmering before putting corn in.

The new super sweets that denniminmiinimi speaks of are horribly tasteless and for my taste people would be better off just just putting a half of cup of sugar in canned creamed corn.

It seems most road stands also pick the corn days, minimum, before it is ready to eat and city peoples ignorance of what sweet corn should be means they do not know anything is wrong.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 2:15PM
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denninmi(8a)

It's all a matter of finding what you like and growing it. It takes some trial and error. It's a continuum from straight field corn to Sh2 supersweets with a high brix. There is something for everyone.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 2:44PM
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