Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! We've been enjoying a relatively mild spell of temperatures in the mid-40s F. (~+8 C.). Of course, here in New England, there is scant to harvest this time of year. But we get to enjoy the fruits of our past season's labor. Today I wanted to share our results with using our "Floriani" red flint corn harvest in several ways.
To recap, as an experiment this year I grew about 120 row feet of this wonderful plant, which yielded about 25 lbs. (~11 kg.) of dried kernels. Michelle, of From Seed To Table, also grows this corn, with great results (it's California after all, lucky her). Based on our experiences, I encourage anyone with the space to plant and enjoy field corn.
A few weeks ago we set up our hand-crank "Wondermill Junior" for the first time, and processed our first batch of cornmeal.
This went into a hearty cornbread, served here with a kale/white bean soup (from our garden of course). Delicious and wholesome.
The rest of this batch of cornmeal was made into pancakes the following morning, served with our own maple syrup and our own Bloody Mary mix, for a great start to the day!
This weekend we set up the mill again to grind some corn for polenta.
We kept out a cup for dinner, and put the rest in a bag for the freezer.
The polenta was soaked for a few hours, then boiled while stirring for about an hour. This was pretty labor-intensive. Perhaps the pressure cooker could be employed for this. Here's a bowl of the result:
And here it is topped with a wonderful venison ragout. About the only things not from our garden (or the surrounding woods) were the mushrooms, red wine, and beef stock.
Some notes on using the Wondermill Jr. We used the supplied stone disks. Following the recommendation, we first ran through a small batch of popcorn to let the disks get used to one another. The high points of the disks are ground off, leaving a fair amount of stone dust in the flour. This was discarded, or actually, fed to the birds and squirrels. This takes a fair amount of effort. But after that, cranking is pretty easy. The hopper holds about 3 cups (~700 cc) of corn kernels. This results in about 4 cups of meal or flour. One problem we have is the disks loosen up fairly quickly, forcing you to re-tighten them regularly. This causes the grind to vary between fine and coarse. Sifting out the coarse grain and running it through again makes it more consistent. It took about a half-hour of cranking (and sifting). Good exercise and satisfying labor.
That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Daphne's Dandelions for hosting. Happy New Year to you all!
I was just commenting on Michelle's blog the other day that cornmeal is not something I would ever have thought to grow corn for until I saw other bloggers doing just that. It's definitely on my list of items that I aspire to grow at some point in the future...but I think I'll need to get a few more beds in first.ReplyDelete
And that kale/white bean soup looks delish! I love incorporating greens into soups.
Thanks, Margaret. Just remember you have to isolate field from sweet corn. I think that discourages a lot of people.Delete
The venison ragout with polenta looks delicious. I remember reading about your corn harvest which was amazing!ReplyDelete
Living in the south, I have discovered the wonder of fried corn.
Thank you. Fried corn? That sounds interesting!Delete
I second your recommendation to grow field corn, it's worth every inch of garden space. It's seemingly impossible to buy good field corn, you have to grow it yourself, what a shame. I've never had better polenta or corn bread than what I've made with homegrown freshly ground corn. Next year I want to try a blue flour corn and a white or yellow one too.ReplyDelete
Whew, that Wondermill is a workout! My mill is a plug in one, lazy woman that I am...
You should try the double boiler method for polenta, it takes very little stirring and almost no attention. Another lazy woman's trick!
Thanks Michelle. Once my Floriani seed is gone (I don't think I'm planting as much this coming year), I may experiment with the other lovely options. We might try the double boiler too.Delete
I've hand ground corn like that as a child. It is a lot of work. My parents eventually broke down and bought an electric mill to make our lives easier as they moved to grinding all their own grains.ReplyDelete
I hear you on the effort involved with hand cranking. I like the effort so far, but it may become tedious. The Wondermill has an available add-on that uses an electric drill for power. Not there yet, buy maybe!Delete
Wonderful to grind your own corn! It sounds like a super idea, although a bit beyond me right now. Does "field corn" simply refer to corn that isn't eaten as kernels? I have to learn how to grow corn first! And great for you to have venison of your own - I have to "hunt" down my few friends that hunt but I do manage to beg a few pounds each year.ReplyDelete
Thank you Susie. Field corn is a different plant from sweet corn--with harder, starchy kernels. It certainly cannot be eaten off the cob--unless you're a cow! It has to be isolated from sweet corn too. Sadly, despite trying, I did not bag a deer this year. Our freezer supply is dwindling.Delete