Corn – The versatile Grain.
Ninety percent of the corn grown in the US today is fed to livestock. Although mostly used as feed, corn is still one of the most popular grains for cooking and eating, predominantly in both North and South America.
There are different types of corn cultivated for different purposes:
Sweet corn you eat on the cob is actually an immature cereal grain.
Hominy is treated with lime to do away with the hull
Flour corn is used to make cornmeal or polenta.
Just as there are different types of corn, there are different means of processing:
Steel-, stone-, and water-ground corn have had the hull and germ removed.
Stone-ground corn and polenta both have the germ intact - the closest you'll get to the whole grain in any ground cornmeal.
As is usually the case, the least-refined grains need the most care in storage. Stone-ground corn meal will last only about four months when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
There are different uses for different types of corn meal:
Polenta, one of the most popular grains in Italy, is literally just coarsely ground cornmeal and you can use the two interchangeably. It can be served creamy or cooked until quite dry, formed into cakes and grilled.
Grits are the coarsest ground of hominy corn.
Masa harina is hominy (sometimes also called "posole") that has been ground to fine flour for use in tortillas or tamales
Corn is not doomed to stay stuck on the cob or boiled. Those kernels have a range of possibilities. Not the least which is POPPED corn!
Donna Miller is a work-at-home wife and mother. She delighted to share her trials and triumphs of learning to mill and cook with whole grains. The Millers own and operate an online Store which offers Organic and Chemical-free Whole Grains, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more. Visit Millers Grain House