Yes! You CAN Eat Indian Corn! And it is Yummy!

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You see why I have ears and ears of Indian Corn laying around! I consider it eye candy! That blue one on the left is my absolute favorite.

But eat it? Not only is it too pretty to eat but it is hard as a rock!

However.......... in the interest of finding out, I decided to sacrifice three of the least attractive ears in my collection

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Since we have had a unusually cool summer this year, the Indian Corn is not yet ready to harvest. I am using Indian Corn harvested last fall and dried in my garage all year. My sweetie hangs several ears together from the garage rafters slipping a plastic bag over the top to keep the dust away.

Fresh Indian Corn from the this year's harvest is not dry enough for grinding - you will need to let it dry a few months.

Removing the kernels from the husks is very easy as they pop right off when you apply gentle pressure with your fingers. There may be bits of the husk attached which can be removed by swiriling around in a colander.

I was feeling quite timid about this little experiment - mainly because I had no clue what I was doing! So I first removed just these few kernels to see how they would respond to whirling around in my Cuisinart.

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Very noisy! I will give it that! But not an efficient way to grind Indian Corn!

I am aware that there is a wonderful machine available for grinding grain, but since I don't own one, I wanted to see if I could find a tool more commonly found in kitchens that would work.

After totaling my spice grinder and watching as the kernels moved through my grinder unscathed, I moved on to my, vintage, workhorse Oster blender that has not failed me in 25 years of service!

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Just look at this! Once the powdery mixture in my blender was run through a fairly fine strainer, I had lovely fine cornmeal and chunks about the size of coarse polenta or grits.

I was feeling pretty satisfied with my results; but, thinking that I might have overlooked something, I turned one last time to google.

Now, I have to tell you I have been searching for answers to my questions about Indian Corn on two separate trips through Google land - and found little that was of any help. But on this day I hit on the right combination of words to produce answers! "How to grind Indian Corn"!

I found these three really useful and informative posts. I think you will find them interesting reading!

Making Cornmeal and Grits

Drying Indian Corn

How do you pop Indian Corn?

Added 9/28:  Be sure to check out Fay's comment below for some great info about grain mills for home use.  I see one in MY future!

 

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Having already found this yummy sounding recipe in my King Arthur Cookbook for Maple Cornbread, I felt bold enough by now to strip those three sacrificial ears of Indian Corn to their bones!

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Three 8" ears of Indian Corn yielded 1 1/4 cup of fine cornmeal and about 3/4 cup of course grits.

Actually, I did try running the "grits" through the blender a couple more times, but the process yielded only a little more cornmeal and didn't reduce the size of the "grit" kernels much. But - it is an older blender so maybe your blender will do a better job.

Just to be on the safe side, I only processed about 1/3 cup of kernels at a time.

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While reading instructions for "Popping Indian Corn", suddenly, out of the deep, dark recesses of my mind - a memory! A friend had given me five gorgeous little ears of miniature Indian Corn grown in his garden for that exact purpose!

Of course, I would never think of doing such a thing to little beauties like these. I simply saved them from year to year as fall decorations and forgot their original purpose.

So now, armed and dangerous and getting more curious (and excited) by the minute -  I made cornbread, grits and popped corn two ways!

 

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I chose this recipe for maple cornbread for two reasons. First, it is from King Arthur Flour and I haven't had one of their recipes fail me yet!

And secondly, I thought the addition of maple syrup would compliment the flavor of the Indian Corn

And I was right on both counts! This turned out to be the most delicious cornbread either of us have ever eaten.

Perhaps a bit more work than most of us moms would normally have time for - preparing the Indian Corn - but I think kids would get a huge kick out of stripping the ears and helping to mix the batter! (The recipe is easy peasy - no mixer required.)

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Just a little comparison to "regular" grits! We eat grits at our house - my sweetie loves them.

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But I am not wholeheartedly recommending cooking Indian Corn grits for breakfast! Normal cooking time for grits (see Making Cornbread and Grits) is about 30 to 40 minutes. I cooked mine for over an hour and my grits were still, as my sweetie referred to them, "al dente".

Actually - the flavor is delicious - but not creamy enough for my taste. He loved them!

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Pop Corn! Really yummy!

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I removed about two thirds of the kernels from one little ear. And, can you believe it, the Luminary Queen didn't have a single paper bag in the whole house?

So, I popped the loose kernels the old fashioned way - in a kettle on the stove. Refer to  Popping Indian Corn for instructions.

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I just HAD to try popping some right on the ear, so in lieu of the paper bag, I tried using a pyrex casserole.

Fun to watch! I think I would stick to popping loose kernels in the future. But it would be fun for kids to pop the corn right on the cob and see where popcorn comes from!

Popped mini Indian Corn is so yummy. You just have got to give it a try. Get some at the farmer's market this fall, dry it out, and have fun on movie night in January!

Cautionary note!

Do not purchase Indian Corn you are planning to eat anywhere other than a farm; or, if you purchase at a farmer's market, make certain the corn hasn't been treated for preservation.

After storing and drying, I would suggest quickly rinsing the ears in warm water and immediately drying with an absorbent towel. If the kernels are still moist when removed from the cob, dry them out before grinding or popping.

If you let sweet corn sit in

If you let sweet corn sit in the field until the husk is brown, it will ALSO be hard as a rock. By then it is seed corn or grinding corn. If you grow Indian Corn and pick it while it is green it is exactly like sweet corn except not as sweet. It has just over half the amount of sugar and would be a great option for diabetics, hypoglycemics and folks trying to watch their weight. Cook it just like sweet corn.

Thank you Robert for sharing

Thank you Robert for sharing this helpful information.  I have also found that it works best to string indian corn while it is still soft - right after it is picked!  But I will most likely use it in cooking ground as I prefer my corn sweet!!!

Great! Now where can I find

Great! Now where can I find the ear of corn to buy some?

I believe that the only

I believe that the only source i would suggest would be direct from a farm store - from the farm where it is actually grown, picked and sold without any treatment.

I understand that some Indian Corn available at farmer's markets and retail stores has been treated in some way to preserve it.

This is NOT necessary and in no way would I want to eat corn that has been treated.

We get ours from the Pumpkin Patch market. Look for a similar market in your part of the country.  October is best.

I was wondering if you could

I was wondering if you could eat fresh moist indian corn. However the indian cornbread does look very tempting lol

There really is no such thing

There really is no such thing as fresh moist Indian Corn.  This particular kind of corn is always hard.  That is what gives it it's amazing keeping qualities.

you CAN eat fresh Indian

you CAN eat fresh Indian corn, we've been growing it for years, all you have to do is pick it when it is first ripe! It's sweet and tender, tho it may color your teeth a bit; but just like the old fashioned open pollenated sweet corn, it won't keep its sweetness very long after being picked.

Pam, You keep posting things

Pam, You keep posting things that are inspiring me! Trouble is, I need to quit my job to keep up with all the cool things I want to try! LOL! Can't wait to go to our farmer's market this weekend and get my hands on some indian corn. I know you said that you have to dry it before you grind it, but do you think that this year's indian corn would be dry enough to make popcorn? I guess I'll find out!

By the way, your first photo of the different glorious colors of indian corn makes me want to get out my watercolor paints. Would you mind if I used your photo as inspiration?

Thanks for keeping me busy!
Kathleen

We had fun with hand-grinding

We had fun with hand-grinding Indian corn last Thanksgiving, but we did not yield much for our efforts, so I just added what we did grind with store-bought cornmeal to make muffins. The boys got an appreciation for how hard it was for the Indians to get their daily bread.
http://homeschooljournal-bergblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/making-corn-muffi...

BTW- I sent you some photos...did you get them?

I thought that this was

I thought that this was *super* adorable. Found you through the craftzine link and I am totally impressed. And I'm sure you've probably guessed, but yes, grinding corn is *infinitely* easier using a grain mill. We got our WonderMill a couple years ago for Christmas, and I think I've used it once a week at least since then (but I make my bread, so that could be just me, lol). Anywho, there are some hand-crank grain mills available for less than twenty bucks, most of which you can attach to your kitchen table or counter to make the grinding easier. Those are a pretty worthwhile investment for those times when you want your own polenta or to make your own cream of wheat.

WoW! Another great post. I

WoW! Another great post. I know way back when in history our ancestors ate different than us. They actually used everything available to them. I always thought of Indian corn as a decoration not something that could be eaten. I'm not much of a grit eater and although cornbread is something everyone eats I rarely make it but we are all intrigued by putting an ear of Indian corn in the microwave and having popcorn popping right off the ear.

Maple cornbread?! You had me

Maple cornbread?! You had me at hello. I will definitely be trying that recipe!

(P.S. I got your e-mail, love it, love it, love it)!

Thank you so much! You have

Thank you so much! You have solved a great mystery.

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