How To Dry Corn and Grind it Into Corn Meal

Carol Suhr's guide on preserving a crop of homestead corn, including how to dry corn, grinding corn meal, and recipes for cornmeal pancakes, dried corn pudding, and corn tamale pie.

| September/October 1975

  • Drying corn
    Last year, for the first time, I discovered the joy of drying and grinding my own corn for winter use. This simple, non-energy-consuming method of preservation was long practiced by the Indians.
    PHOTO: FOTOLIA/TOA555

  • Drying corn

Last year, for the first time, I discovered the joy of drying and grinding my own corn for winter use. This simple, non-energy-consuming method of preservation was long practiced by the Indians and in many cases was the key to their survival during periods of crop failure. Certainly the practice deserves a revival . . . and what better place to start than in our own organic gardens? Even the smallest corn patch is likely to have enough over-mature ears left on the stalks at the end of the season to warrant a little experimentation.

How To Dry Corn and Grind it Into Corn Meal

The fact is, though, that my own discovery of dried corn came about through sheer laziness. By late summer of last year-when the last buttery mouthful of kernels had been chomped off the last tender cob, and I was rapidly growing weary of freezing corn every day — I was dismayed to see that many maturing and overripe ears remained on our garden's cornstalks. What's more, they positively challenged me to do something with them.

Well, I did: I just let them hang there to grow bigger and fatter and tougher. Then, before the first heavy frost, I made a last trip up and down the rows and snapped off enough ears to fill my wheelbarrow. Some were left to feed the birds and other hungry creatures once the snows fell . . . and come spring, any scant remains would be tilled back into the soil to complete the cycle, with nary a grain gone to waste.

The next step was to pull back the husks from my harvest and spread the ears on clean newspaper in the garage where they could continue drying out of the weather for a few more weeks. I then brought the corn into a dry room in the house, and forgot about it until winter was well established and life had settled down to a gentler pace.



It's my good fortune to have a Thoreau-like father-in-law who possesses a marvelous hand-cranked corn sheller of a long forgotten vintage. Thanks to him, I was able to complete the shelling process in just a few exhilarating minutes of cranking, clanking, and whirring. The ears were dropped one by one into the machine's opening, where spinning wheels quickly separated kernels from cob. The dried corn pinged into a metal tub, and the stripped ears came flying out their special hole to fall in a heap on the floor . . . from which they, were removed to their final resting place in the kindling box by the Franklin stove.

If you should come by the use of such a sheller, the only necessary precaution — other than keeping your hands out of the works while the wheels are spinning — is to be sure your corn is perfectly dry. Otherwise the machine will jam and you'll have the tedious task of picking smashed, gummy kernels out of its insides and out of the bucket. (Hand-cranked corn shellers are available for $29.95 from Sears and other suppliers, including MOTHER EARTH NEWS General Store, Flat Rock, N.C. — MOTHER). 

chas
9/24/2017 8:34:24 PM

Don't forget the process of nixtamalization. Prior to milling the dried corn, the corn must be nixtamalized, redried and then ground. Or the grain can be ground wet for making dough for tortillas. SW U.S. Indians, including descendants of the Myans and Aztec nation peoples used this process to supplement the meager protein in their diet.


schultz.jc52
9/24/2017 8:34:22 PM

Don't forget the process of nixtamalization. Very crucial step in the milling of corn. It doubles up the protein in the corn seed to increase the nutritional value of the corn.. Check out the process on the Internet for an explanation in greater detail.


liang
9/2/2015 2:30:42 AM

Of cause,use the Corn grinding machine. You can find all kinds of Corn grinding machine and bean peeling machine here http://www.beanpeelingmachine.com Also you can search in Google for the keywords: Lucao Corn grinding machine







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