Good enough to eat: Sweetcorn

A Generic Photo of sweetcorn growing. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.
A Generic Photo of sweetcorn growing. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.

Sweetcorn straight from the plant tastes so different to the shop-bought varieties, especially if it is cooked immediately, because the sugars start to turn to starch as soon as the cob is removed from its parent.

If you’re growing sweetcorn for the first time, you may be wondering about the best time to harvest the cobs while they’re at their plumpest and juiciest and before they begin to go over.

Look at the tassels on the end of the plants. If they are starting to shrivel, it’s a sign the corn may be ready.

Peel back the leafy sheaf and gently press your thumbnail into a grain.

If the cob is ready, a creamy liquid will squirt out. If the liquid is watery, leave the cob a few days and test it again.

Once picked, eat the corn as soon as possible, steamed and served with butter and black pepper, or cook it in its husk on the barbecue.

Keep harvesting through September but stop once the grains are doughy when pressed with your nail, as this is a sign that the cobs are over-ripe.