Monday, October 27, 2014

Harvest Monday - 27 October 2014

Welcome to another Harvest Monday report from Eight Gate Farm!

Not much happening on the actual harvest front. Just more raspberries and watermelon radishes picked this week. Unless you count 10 billion leaves as a "harvest."

But I had an opportunity to finish processing a prior harvest. Here's a repost of a picture from a few weeks ago, showing our "Floriani" Red Flint corn drying in the sun room.

Having judged it was dry enough for storage, today I shelled all of these 150+ cobs. I built a simple shelling tool I saw in Mother Earth News. It's just a piece of scrap wood, with a 2-inch hole bored. I drilled four holes at a 45 degree angle, and tapped in nails. Super-easy, and refreshingly low-tech.

It's just a matter of twisting the cob through. When it pokes through enough, pull from the other side and continue twisting. The kernels pop off, and then you use your hands to completely shell whatever's left on the cob. Be warned, the kernels fly everywhere, and bounce even further. On the plus side, the bouncing kernels became very amusing cat toys.

After doing 4 or 5, my bare hands learned what my brain already knew--it is called flint corn for a reason! I quickly switched to a pair of new thin leather gloves.

The 2-inch diameter hole was perfect for all but the very fattest cobs. I guess I drilled the nail holes a little big, but it worked out fine since the nails could be adjusted by sliding up or down. About 3/4 of the way through the project, I had to replace the nails as they had bent and were too loose.

After about 2 1/2 hours, the job was done! It yielded over 25 pounds (11.36 kg.) of corn goodness.

I don't yet have any experience with this, but I read that one cup of kernels yields 1 1/4 cups corn meal. So doing some rough math, and weighing a cup of kernels at 5.65 ounces, that's about 88 cups of corn meal. Wow!

Now we get a chance to use our "Wondermill Junior" hand-crank grain mill. I predict lots of corn muffins, corn bread, and corn pancakes in my future! Yum, yum, and yum! I've also bought some pickling lime for nixtamalization, to make grits and tortillas. Even more yum and yum!

An offering of cobs to the corn gods, to be gratefully placed on a sacrificial bonfire:

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and happy harvests to all! And thanks to Daphne's Dandelions for hosting Harvest Monday.


  1. I think it's one thing that I've never been that fond of - corn. I can eat once in a blue moon when it's fresh but not canned or dry.

  2. That's a clever corn shucker. I have seen metal ones, essentially a cylinder with teeth inside. The cylinder might have the advantage of directing the flying kernels into the bowl.

  3. Great idea for the shelling tool! The corn is beautiful too. I see lots of corn bread and other goodies in your future.

  4. Beautiful! What a really gratifying harvest that must be. I haven't shelled my Floriani corn yet, the ears are so pretty I hate to do it. Gotta do it though, I didn't grow it as an ornamental.

  5. That shelling tool is awesome - just love Mother Earth News. It reminds me of the old Organic Gardening magazines from the 70's & 80's. And wow - 25 lbs! Can't wait to hear about all of the wonderful goodies you will be cooking up.

  6. I remember shelling corn as a kid by hand. That was no fun. The corn looks so pretty and it must be nice to think of all the things you will make of it this winter.