December 2, 2011

Thankful For ......Corn

OK. I'm doing my Thanksgiving post way after Thanksgiving. It's just that we've had so much going on I haven't had time to get the photos sorted out and the post written!

What I'm talking about is corn, specifically the field corn we grew last summer. I grew it for the chickens and also for us, for grinding into cornmeal. Cornmeal for cornbread turkey stuffing seemed like a good place to start.

Of grinding grains, we've mostly done wheat, both hard and soft, spelt, and brown rice. Corn was a new one to grind, but fortunately my Country Living Grain Mill came with a corn and bean auger for larger grains.

From what I understand, the only kind of corn that can't be used for cornmeal is sweet corn, something to do with it's sugar content. My field corn was Truckers Favorite, an heirloom dent corn.

So called because of the indentations in the kernels. Mainly it has to be well dried out so that the kernels will actually grind, and not just be smashed between the mill plates. Here's how mine turned out.

I confess I did not sift it, though it probably should have been. (With the kitchen all torn up, who in the world knows where my sifter is.) There's not as much chaff like wheat, and I figured the bits of corn silk, medicinally good for kidneys, wouldn't hurt us either.

To test it out we had cornmeal pancakes with home canned applesauce for lunch. Very tasty! No pics, things were getting hectic at that point. And no pics of my cornbread, nor stuffing, nor Thanksgiving dinner. Suffice it to say it was all very good.


  1. That's fascinating! It's a great idea to grow your own chicken feed, but I had never thought of growing corn to make cornmeal. I guess because my family doesn't like it very much. Too bad for me! :)

  2. Cornmeal pancakes ? Never had those. They sound heart and filling
    Will you share recipe soon ?

  3. So since your corn wasn't sweet corn but rather field corn, did you detect a lack of sweetness when you cooked/baked with it?

  4. I really like the fact that you and the chickens can eat the same corn...yay! xo

  5. how much corn did you get? (plant, harvest) I think it's exciting that you're able to produce so much of what you need. :D

  6. That's really cool! I'm thinking of trying a little patch of corn next year.

  7. Laura Jeanne, actually Dan isn't too crazy about cornmeal either. But he does like the idea of growing all our own food, and that trumps it!

    Donna, oh, no special recipe! Just substitute cornmeal for at least half the flour in your favorite pancake recipe. You can do all the way up to 100% if you like.

    Mama Pea, that's true, it wasn't at all sweet. Which is okay because for some things, I don't like sweet cornbread. If I want it sweet, I'll just add some!

    Sherri, pretty cool, huh? :)

    Renee, good question. I don't have it all shelled yet, so I'm not sure how much I've actually grown. I planted 5 pounds seed, but not all of it did well. I need to put aside at least 5# for next year, and then we'll see how long what's left lasts.

    Candace, do! Even a small patch will produce some good corn, and yummy cornbread.

  8. Never got the corn / bean auger for our CL grain mill....guess that should be on the "Santa" list this year.

    We just grind store-bought popcorn for our cornmeal, but would love to be able to grind our own one day.

  9. Excellent! Isn't it wonderful when an experiment works out like that. It certainly looks like a decent cornmeal - the little extras are all probably in commercially ground cornmeal anyway. I always find a meal special when we're eating things we've grown or raised ourselves.

  10. That settles it! Next life I'm getting a big farm..I'd like to have my own cornmeal :o) As much as I love greens I have to have cornbread with them, so I may as well grow my own. And Chickens, and Ducks, and Pigs and cows and goats and whatever else comes with it..YES, that includes the poop..need feritlizer don't I :o)

  11. How wonderful! I've been doing some research on making my own chicken feed for the winter months when the pasture is covered in snow. Do you make a complete feed, or just supplement with the corn? I'd love to find a recipe of sorts for a completely homegrown chicken feed....

  12. I recognized your mill right away, because I have a Country Living Grain Mill myself. But I want to know: how did you get yours to come with a corn and bean auger? I didn't opt for one the first time around because cost extra and they're kinda spendy.

  13. I have been interested in grinding my own grains... so I may look into the one you have. I probably won't be growing enough of my own corn to want to mill it next year, but how do you like the one you have for grains?

  14. maybe no photos are a good thing here - or we'd all start drooling:)) the one thing my mill won't do is corn, but I don't use it all that often anyway, so I just make do with shop bought... I do like to replace a bit of normal flour with cornmeal - gives a bit of crunch to them. and "yellowbread" is an old fashioned thing here, because they tried to import cornmeal during the famine times. but apparently the irish weren't used to something like that at the time, so had problems with the new foodstuff...

  15. Carolyn, I didn't try milling corn without it, but the auger was helpful. I can see how you could grind popcorn without it though, as popcorn is smaller. I had to use the pestle because it was slow going. However, I haven't changed the auger back and have been grinding wheat with it, no problems.

    Nina, it is very decent cornmeal indeed. And you're right, it was a very special addition to our Thanksgiving meal. :)

    Ginny LOL. Just talking about greens and cornbread makes my mouth water. Did you try your cabbage collards? We thought them delcious!

    Jaime, this was for a supplement to our chicken feed, with the eventual goal to grow all our own. That said, the chickens apparently thought I should have cracked it too, because they turned their noses up at the whole kernels! For some good information on DIY chicken feed, check out the Modern Homestead.

    Well Paula, I got mine in the late 90s, when it sold for more than $100 cheaper and came with your choice of either a free power bar or a free corn and bean auger. :o At the time, I opted for the auger because I had a bursting with energy teenage son at home, to do my grinding. Last year I bought the power bar, because now the grinding is left to me. Both are must-have accessories!

    Prairie Cat, we like it fine. When I researched how to grind cornmeal though, I saw a lot of recommendations for "Hickory King." Might be worth trying both, just to see.

    Bettina, well, having grown up in a midwestern meat and potatoes eating family, I can kind of relate, LOL. It's taken quite a few years in the south to learn to love that cornbread. Cornbread and greens, cornbread and black eyed peas, corn bread and pinto beans .....

  16. That looks fabulous Leigh! Thanks for sharing:)

  17. Have any of you folks tried dried corn, its really delicious and is really big in my part of Pennsylvania. Richard

  18. One of the many things I like abut your blog is the gorgeous photos you post. I like to 'see' what you're talking about and your photos are fantastic!

  19. Thanks Stephanie!

    Richard, no, I haven't tried that. Do you have a recipe on you're blog? I'll have to go check.

    CBoord, thank you! That's a thought after my own heart. I love photos too, they really help explain a thing well.

  20. Growing and grinding my own corn...on my list of things to learn.

  21. Dr. Momi, it wasn't that hard to do. Some field corns can be eaten early like sweet corn (though not as sweet), so even a good sized patch in the garden could yield enough to try it out. I love having homegrown cornbread. :)


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