All About ‘Bloody Butcher’ Corn, Part 2: Harvesting, Drying, Shelling, and Grinding

| 3/21/2016 10:26:00 AM

Tags: corn, heirloom corn, heirloom gardening, harvesting, drying, food preservation, staple crops, North Carolina, Susan Tipton Fox,

When fully dry, ‘Bloody Butcher’ corn ranges from light reds, red, burgundy to almost black.

Read Part 1: Planting and Pest Control

Read Part 3: Storing, Packaging, and Selling (with Recipes)

Harvesting and Drying ‘Bloody Butcher’ Corn

‘Bloody Butcher’ usually takes 110 days for full maturity. You can actually eat this corn fresh in the milk stage if you want. You can use it to roast or for stews — it’s just not sweet like hybrid sweet corn.

If you want to dry the corn for use, there are a couple of methods we use here in the mountains. There is the method of letting the corn dry standing in the field. This method is best if you don’t have a lot of storage/drying space. The fault to this method is that, if it is unusually wet, the corn can hold water in the shucks/husks and it can mold and you can lose some of your harvest. When the corn is drying in the field, you can notice the ears that are upright slowly turning downwards. This is to signal that those ears are dry. Nature is amazing. You can go ahead and start collecting those ears for processing.

When gathering ears for hanging, make sure the ears are ready. The ears should be full and the silks should be dark and dry. The kernels should already be reddish in color. When fully dry, this corn is the most beautiful color! It ranges from light reds, red, burgundy to almost black. Take the corn and pull the shucks/husks back from the corn. You will see the colored silks on the corn. I collect this to use in crafts. I use the silks as “hair” for my cornhusk dolls. I put it somewhere to dry thoroughly before storing.

Some people use these corn silks for medicinal purposes. They are used as a diuretic. After pulling the shucks away from the ear of corn, check to see if the corn needs the ends to be cleaned up. By this, I mean to cut away ravages made by worms. You want the ear to be clean and free of worms and mess before tying together for hanging up.

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