Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.
First, shell the corn from the cobs and winnow out any chaff. Dry the kernels in a low oven, then store in a tight container.
Grind the corn coarsely. Sift the ground corn to remove most of the finer flour (use it for cornbread, etc.).
To remove some of the red bran material, first place the ground corn into a tall, narrow bowl and pour water over it. This will float much of the bran to the surface, where you can skim it off. (You can eat the bran — it’s rich in fiber — but it’s not very palatable and I think the grits taste better if some of the bran is removed.)
Next, drain off most of the water and add back four cups of water, plus a little salt, for each cup of ground corn you are cooking. The corn takes at least an hour to cook. I’ve used a double boiler, a casserole dish in the oven, and the microwave — each worked fine. A slow cooker should work well, too. At this point, I prefer the microwave — about an hour with the power set on low so that the corn just simmers.
Add cheese and/or butter if you want, and serve the grits/polenta hot. One pound of cooked breakfast sausage mixed with four cups of the coarse cooked grits is excellent. Or some folks like to add mushrooms or tomato sauce.
For fried polenta, pour the hot corn into loaf pans and refrigerate. Cut slices about a half inch thick and fry in butter plus a little olive oil until brown and crisp on both sides (frying time is longer than for many foods, but the resulting crunch is terrific).