Pick and enjoy sweet corn at its peak ripeness, normally around 20 days after the first appearance of silks on the ears. These silks will turn a rust color and tend to wilt just as the corn is becoming ripe. Sweet corn comes in hundreds of varieties and falls into three major types that vary in sweetness. Growing a crop that will suit your individual taste is easy to accomplish.
The standard variety of corn is high in starch with a light hint of sweet flavor. It is best suited for persons who prefer a starchy taste. Standard varieties are good choices for corn on the cob, freezing and home canning. The kernels of standard sweet corn are very juicy and firm. They are best picked and eaten when the kernels are full and the tassles of the corn have turned a slight brown color. After picking, the standard varieties of corn should be husked right away and placed in the refrigerator. Eat this corn within two to three days after picking as it does not generally keep well.
Standard varieties can be found in yellow, white or bi-colored ears. Yellow corn types include "Golden Cross Bantam" and "Erlivee." White corn types include "Pearl White," "Platinum Lady" and "Silver Queen." Standard bi-colored types include "Biqueen" and "Butter and Sugar."
Corn that is classified as "Sugar Enhancer," also known as sugary extender, will have a texture much like that of the standard varieties but also a higher sugar content. The kernels of this corn will be milky and tender. This type of corn is ideal for persons who like a slightly sweet taste, and it will also keep longer than the standard variety. It makes a good choice for home gardeners who would like to pick and eat fresh corn. Yellow varieties of this type of corn include "Bodacious," "Champ" and "Incredible." White sugary enhancer varieties are "Alpine," "Cotton Candy" and "Divinity." "Double Delight" is a bi-colored variety of sugary extender sweet corn.
Supersweet sweet corn is the sweetest type of all. It is ideal for persons who like a very sugary taste to their sweet corn. It may contain up to twice the amount of sugar as that of standard varieties. This type of sweet corn does seem to produce lower yields than those of the standard or sugary enhancer varieties. The kernels of this type of corn are very firm and tough which allow it to keep well under refrigeration. It is a good choice for eating as fresh corn on the cob but loses some of its flavor when frozen or canned. Supersweet yellow varieties include "Excel" and "Illini Gold." White varieties of supersweet corn include "Aspen" and "Pegasus." Bi-colored varieties of supersweet corn include "Aloha" and "Honey 'n Pearl."