Tuesday, November 29, 2011

our homestead: preparing my painted mountain corn for meal and seed

I spent a good portion of the morning shucking and stripping the colorful kernels from a bunch of dried ears of 'painted mountain' corn I grew this summer. To strip the ears, I used a few different methods. I picked kernel by kernel off with my hands, ran a butter knife down the center of each kernel row to loosen them, and twisted my palm around a few ears to dislodge the kernels. Eventually, I ended up with a big bowl of loose kernels in hues of indigo, periwinkle, gold, pearly white, garnet and crimson reds, blush pink, warm black, mandarin orange and more. I set aside the black kernels and the pastel-colored kernels to plant for next year. I also hand selected a few fun color blends to gift to gardening friends this Christmas, such as a "Sunrise Blend" (reds, oranges and pinks), a "Norge Blend" (red, white and blue) and a "Blueberry Blend" (blacks and blues). I then packaged these blends in brown paper envelopes with their planting instructions.

Painted Mountain corn is very special because it is an older, hardier native corn with its own gene pool (meaning it's not a mass produced hybrid or GMO corn). This corn comes in a multitude of colors, hence its name, and I've read that these rich colors have high antioxidant values. This variety of corn is good for fresh eating (although it has a different texture than sweet corn), for making hominy or for grinding into flour or meal. I plan to grind the leftover kernels (the ones I'm not gifting or using for seed) into cornmeal later today. I don't have grain grinder yet, so I'll be experimenting with my food processor and coffee grinder to see what I can produce.

Oh, and I thought I'd post a recent photo of Banjo. He was napping under the table on his blankey the whole time I was seeding my corn. He's about 3 times as big as when we brought him home.

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