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One of the highlights of summer is eating fresh sweet corn. Sweet corn hybridizers are constantly striving to develop varieties that have improved flavor, seed germination, holding ability and many other desirable characteristics.
Normal Sugar or SU varieties are essentially old-fashioned corn varieties that have limited shelf life. You have to pick them and eat them right away or their sugar will be converted to starch. (Note that freezing stops the conversion process, so freezing right after picking will prevent sugar loss). They offer traditional corn flavor, but the old saying about having the water boiling before you pick the corn is quite apt when growing SU sweet corn. View our selection of Normal Sweet Corn Seeds.
Sugary Enhanced or SE and SE+ hybrids have a gene that slows down the conversion of sugar to starch. SE+ is a touch sweeter and more tender than a straight SE corn. SE varieties are reliably sweet and the kernels stay very tender until quite mature. They have a 'cornier' flavor than SH2 types and the kernels tend to be more tender and creamy than SH2 types. View our selection of Sugary Sweet Corn Seeds.
Supersweet or SH2 corn is bred to have the longest shelf life possible. They have a 'shrunken' gene that enhances sweetness and produces kernels that are crisp and juicy. Holding qualities are excellent, up to 10 days longer than normal hybrids. View our selection of Supersweet Sweet Corn Seeds.
Synergistic hybrids are a combination of approximately 25% Supersweet and 75% Sugary Enhanced, so you get the benefit of long shelf life plus the flavor and tenderness of Sugary Enhanced. View our selection of Synergistic Hybrid Sweet Corn Seeds.
To grow the best quality sweet corn, there are some basics you should know about sweet corn pollination. Planting the wrong types of sweet corn together can result in tough, starchy kernels that are nearly inedible in some cases.
Here are the basic rules to follow:
SU and SE varieties can be grown side by side. You can also plant more than one SU variety or more than one SE variety side by side. Synergistic varieties should be isolated from supersweet (SH2) varieties.
The SH2 varieties are a little trickier. They should not be planted next to any other type of sweet corn. However, you can plant more than one SH2 variety side by side. We recommend SH2 varieties be planted at least 25 feet from other corns in the garden and 200 feet from varieties in acreage plantings.
Finally, you wouldn't want any type of sweet corn planted closer than 200 feet to field corn, popcorn or ornamental corn to avoid cross-pollination.
Isolation can also be accomplished by planting varieties that mature more than 10 days apart.
All sweet corn requires warm soil temperatures. Soil should be 55 degrees F. or more for good germination and 65 degrees F. for supersweet (SH2) varieties.
With so many varieties to choose from, it can be tough to pick out a sweet corn variety. One thing we can say is that all the varieties we carry are delicious when picked at the right time and when grown using proper isolation guidelines.
If you want "fresh from the garden" sweet corn all winter, give our "Easy Freezer Corn" and "Just Like Fresh Corn" recipes a try. Both recipes are included in our Jung Cookbook, Item #53533, now on sale for only $6.00.
EASY FREEZER CORN
7 to 8 cups of fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob (about 10 to 12 ears)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup water
1 stick butter or margarine
Stir corn, sugar, salt and water together in large kettle and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and add butter. Stir until butter is melted. Put into containers or freezer bags, let cool a bit and freeze. To serve, simply reheat in the microwave.
JUST LIKE FRESH CORN
1 lb. butter (no substitutes)
20 cups fresh cut sweet corn kernels (about 24 large ears)
2 cups half & half cream
Place butter in a roasting pan, place in 325 degree oven until melted. Stir in corn and cream. Bake uncovered for 75 minutes or until the corn is tender, stirring occasionally. Immediately place the roaster in ice water to cool quickly, stirring frequently. Transfer corn to heavy duty plastic freezer bags or containers. To serve, reheat in a microwave or stove.