This Indigenous Corn Pinole 'Smoothie' Recipe Packs a Punch


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Pinole smoothie by Renee Benoit

Pinole (Pin-Nole) is my new favorite smoothie. It’s a Southwestern food staple made out of native corn that has been roasted and ground into a fine powder. From my experience I have found that it’s best when mixed with milk and sweetened with honey for a creamy drink much like a milkshake. It can also be added to other foods as a supplement or thickening agent or even eaten alone. Try it when back packing or hiking just like Native Americans did when they were on the go. It’s light weight and durable and doesn’t mold or rot if you keep it dry.

Pinole has been a staple food for a very long time in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States but corn wasn’t always the familiar corn we’re used to. Archeao-botanists believe that corn was developed over thousands of years from “teosinte” grass. Teosinte was cultivated in Mexico and Central America and selected to eventually become corn as we know it. It’s not common but farmers in Mexico still let wild teosinte plants grow around the edges of their cornfields because they believe that it makes the domestic corn plants 'stronger'. Early types of corn then made their way through trade to the Southwest U.S. by 4,000 years ago.

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Corn teosinte, Photo credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation

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