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Corn | New World Seeds & Tubers

Most people have never heard of it. It’s a type of corn but it’s not “sweet corn” or “field corn” (a.k.a. dent corn) that most people are familiar with, nor is it popcorn, which is a type of “flint corn”.

It’s used to make a product that hasn’t been available retail for quite a few generations now, namely corn-flour. Because it’s no longer available, most people use the words “corn flour” to mean either corn starch, or fine corn-meal. Flour corns are easier to grind into a fine consistency because they don’t contain any of the harder flinty starches.

You can use corn-flour to make cakes, pancakes, muffins, cookies, and similar types of quickbreads and pastries where the gluten in wheat is undesirable anyway. They won’t have the same flavor or texture as if they were made out of soft wheat flour, but the difference along with the color is part of their charm. As is true of most Amerindian crops, and in contrast to wheat, corn is easy to grow and harvest using hand labor and a minimum of tools.

One purpose you don’t use it for is making tortillas. For that you need masa harina de maiz, which is made from specially processed flint corn. Otherwise, they would fall apart.

We’re growing out Dave Christensen’s beautiful “Painted Mountain” flour corns. We like this variety because of its reliability under challenging growing conditions; we expect a harvest despite the severe La Niña conditions currently sabotaging other crops in our part of the world. These intensely-colored corns are sold by other merchants as “ornamental corn”, but Mr. Christensen intended them as food. You can have your cake and eat it too by displaying them on your autumn table before eventually shelling the kernels off the cob for storage. The whole kernels will keep better than flour, so grind it as you need it, and keep the different colors separate to improve the color and flavor of the finished product.

Have a look at it over at Dave Christensen’s website: www.seedweneed.com.

We expect our first offering of this corn, along with some recipes and tips for using it, to be ready for the 2012 growing year. To stay informed of availability of this and other fine crops, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

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