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How to Make Grits, aka Polenta, from 'Floriani Red Flint' Corn

10/7/2009 3:24:59 PM

Tags: heirlooms, corn

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).

For more, see Corn Pancakes a la Floriani and The Return of a Great Corn Variety.



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Post a comment below.

 

Deborah_39
1/3/2011 7:55:21 PM
Here's a report on how that polenta we made tasted: fabulous! There is no going back to plain ol' cornmeal once you taste the flavor in the heirloom strains. Be prepared to turn your nose up at more bland offerings (we TOTALLY spoiled ourselves with homegrown popcorn -- can't find anything nearly as delicious elsewhere!) That said, I was surprised at how watery the polenta was, though I cooked it 1:15. I'm going to reduce the amount of water next time I make it, see if it sets up a bit better. And the color: it had kind of a funny greenish brown tinge to it! After the stunning color of the kernals, I was kind of surprised. There was zero left of it after our meal (so you can tell we didn't suffer from the color any!) or I would have tried some fried the next day. Will have to make twice as much next time!

Deborah_39
12/24/2010 3:48:11 PM
I grew this corn in the kitchen garden at Thoreau Farm, birth place of Henry David Thoreau in Concord, MA. I meant to plant this variety in my community garden plot a stone's throw away, got the seeds mixed up with the New England-related corn I meant to plant at the birth house (http://www.ThoeauFarm.org). Ah well -- it grew wonderfully, and the ears were just gorgeous! Am making my very first batch of polenta right now from it. This article was very helpful. Thanks!

Kathleen Borowski
12/14/2010 7:35:40 AM
Since I probably won't be able to grow this corn, I would like to find a source for buying enough to grind and cook with. I have looked, but can't seem to find a place to buy enough of it for my purposes. I am only seeing places to buy seeds for planting, but I need larger quantities. Thank you for your reply.

WCMalone
10/17/2010 7:40:19 AM
I wasn't aware that this could be done. I am very excited to try it--it sounds great. I'll be looking forward to more interesting ideas. Thanks

Salix
6/15/2010 8:04:51 AM
I had a simple polenta made with very coarse ground Floriani corn last night for a late supper. Karen Keb, made the polenta earlier in the day and it had set up in the refrigerator -- I sliced off a few of slabs and nuked them for 30 seconds. Corn flavor like nothing you can buy at the grocery store. I had two slabs plain (Karen used one clove of garlic and some butter when making the polenta) and tried one slab with my favorite hot sauce on it (Franks). It was all yummy and perfectly satisfying. I can't wait to harvest my own crop of this corn.







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