Dried Corn in Food Storage

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Weedygarden

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We have had previous discussions about corn in food storage, but I think that was in the old place. I just searched and did not find anything about corn here. We had videos about the processes for making some of these things. I want to build another discussion about what we need and how to do it.

I was on another forum and saw a discussion about polenta and it got me thinking about corn again. When I was working with my daughter to prepare for the coming lock-down, a package of corn for polenta was one of the things we got for her, by Bob's Red Mills. I know where I can buy dry corn in bulk. I have canned some in #10 cans when we were still able to borrow the canners from the LDS home storage center.

Two things I know we would need to process corn for human consumption:
A grinder of some sort, to grind the corn
Lime (not from limes) to nixtamalize the corn, so that it is more easily digested and doesn't give consumers pellagra.

1. What kind of dried corn would a person store to grind for cornmeal, polenta, grits? Can the same corn be used for all of these?
2. What does it take to make hominy and what is the process?
3. What does it take to make masa for corn tortillas?
4. Why don't food storage companies sell dried corn in #10 cans, such as the LDS? They sell wheat, and that is not necessarily easy to process.
 

Amish Heart

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I don't know why they don't sell it. I do have the capability to grind whole kernals in my Wondermill. I saw someone on youtube saying the secret to their great tasting cornbread was freshly ground corn.
I dehydrate frozen cooked corn all the time. Throw that in the crockpot for soups and stews. I know you can grind popcorn, too. And then there's blue corn.
 

Weedygarden

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I don't know why they don't sell it. I do have the capability to grind whole kernals in my Wondermill. I saw someone on youtube saying the secret to their great tasting cornbread was freshly ground corn.
I dehydrate frozen cooked corn all the time. Throw that in the crockpot for soups and stews. I know you can grind popcorn, too. And then there's blue corn.
Blue corn is what I canned. I think I bought 50 pounds of it. That is the quantity that I just saw that you have to buy where I bought it.
I also have lime for nixtamilization.

For years, I bought frozen hominy that I used when I made posole. Then I started using canned hominy. I have since found it dried, but it is in fairly small packages.
 

Weedygarden

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What’s the Difference Between Cornmeal and Polenta?
Cornmeal has long been used for baked goods and giving fried foods crunch and texture. Polenta may feel like a less-familiar newcomer, not surprisingly causing some confusion. What’s the difference between these two cornmeal products?

Polenta is also made from corn, but is it really just cornmeal labeled differently and sold at a higher price? Can the two be used interchangeably? Read on to find out!

Cornmeal
Cornmeal is made by grinding dried corn kernels into one of three textures: fine, medium, and coarse. The traditional way of making cornmeal was through stone-grinding, which retains some of the hull and germ of the kernels. This makes the cornmeal more nutritious but also more perishable because of the higher fat content. The more modern way of grinding corn is through steel rollers, which remove most of the husk and germ.

Types of Cornmeal
Besides the difference in grinds, cornmeal can be made from blue, white, or yellow corn. Stone-ground cornmeal is labeled as such or can also be called “water ground,” and you can usually assume unlabeled cornmeal is made through the steel roller process. If the package isn’t labeled with the coarseness of the grind, it’s probably medium.
Finely ground cornmeal is sometimes labeled as corn flour, but British recipes that call for “cornflour” actually refer to cornstarch, which is not milled from the whole corn kernel. Masa harina is cornmeal made from corn kernels that have been cooked in limewater first.

Using Cornmeal
While cornmeal is the traditional ingredient in cornbread, it is also used for texture and sweetness in cookies and other breads. It is also often used to dust baking surfaces for things like pizza to prevent the dough from sticking, and can also be used as a thickener for soups and chilis.

If a recipe does not specify the grind of cornmeal to use, your best bet is usually to get a medium-grind cornmeal.

Polenta
Polenta is really a dish, not an ingredient, from northern Italy. It refers to a porridge or mush now made from coarsely ground cornmeal since corn was cultivated in Europe in the 16th century, but was also in the past made with farro, chestnuts, millet, spelt or chickpeas. Polenta is usually made from yellow corn.
Labeling and Substitutions
Packages labeled polenta mean that the grind of the corn is appropriate to make the polenta dish, but you can substitute regular medium or coarsely-ground cornmeal instead. Don’t use finely ground cornmeal or corn flour which have too fine of a consistency and will give the finished dish a pasty texture.

Other Forms of Polenta
Since regular polenta which requires a fair amount of time to cook properly, about 40 minutes of constant stirring, there are other forms of polenta sold. Instant or quick-cooking polenta has been pre-processed to reduce the cooking time, but many purists don’t like the flavor and consistency as much. Prepared polenta is fully cooked and sold in tube-shaped packaging — this form is best sliced and fried, sauteed, grilled, or baked, as it has already passed the creamy, runny form when freshly cooked.

Cooking Polenta
Think of polenta nowadays as a form of Italian “grits.” Polenta is slow-cooked in liquid until the grains swell and the starches are released. At this point, it has a thick, creamy consistency and is ready to be eaten. After is has cooled or been chilled, the consistency changes and it solidifies into a solid piece. In this form, form, it’s cut into pieces and usually crisped up on the outside.
 

hiwall

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I have to eat gluten-free. So I make cornbread often and I store a lot of cornmeal. I experiment with changes to cornbread all the time. One of my recipes is in the cooking section.
I make sandwiches often using corn tortillas. I just ordered some masa so I can make my own tortillas.
 

Weedygarden

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I have to eat gluten-free. So I make cornbread often and I store a lot of cornmeal. I experiment with changes to cornbread all the time. One of my recipes is in the cooking section.
I make sandwiches often using corn tortillas. I just ordered some masa so I can make my own tortillas.
I have some masa. I do know that I have gotten more bugs in corn products than anything else. Maybe it has bugs or bug eggs in it when I bring it home from the store. If I don't keep my masa and cornmeal in the fridge or freezer, I will just have to throw it away.

Is corn like wheat, in that it will store better if it is whole grain? This is where I am coming from, thinking it is better to have whole corn kernels, rather than the ground pieces.
 

hiwall

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Is corn like wheat, in that it will store better if it is whole grain? This is where I am coming from, thinking it is better to have whole corn kernels, rather than the ground pieces.
I have used 5-year old corn meal with no issues. It was stored in a sealed container.
 

hiwall

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Did you do something before you sealed it up, such as freezing it for a while, or was it sealed up when you purchased it?
I am way too lazy to do any of that :)
It was stored in plastic gallon sized containers in a non-temperature controlled building. I was very suspicious of using it but it smelled fine and turned out to be just fine. I could not taste any difference from fresh. I had bought it in regular paper bags(Walmart brand) but poured it into cleaned out gallon juice bottles. It was here in AZ so it suffered many hot days but I doubt that it ever froze or even came close to freezing. It might have been stored for more than five years (I forgot to date the bottles).
 

joel

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They do not sale dry corn for storage in South Carolina, because the Deer hunter are willing to pay more & it does not have to be food grade.
So we just grow our own, for hog, deer, & humans.
WG thanks for the information.
 

Weedygarden

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I found these videos helpful and the one with the little Mexican lady is why I brought grain mill with stainless steel burrs as well as stone ones. To grind masa.


Thank you Tank-Girl! Both of those are excellent videos.

I have probably eaten grits once in my life. I know, you Southerners just gasped! I had no idea how the corn for grits was processed.

I've got some pickling lime, but could use more. I've got blue corn, but could use more. I've got a corn grinder. I do not have a metate or a molcajete, but I have those two stones for grinding that were once part of an exhibit about grinding grains at the art museum. I don't think those stones are the right set up.
 

LadyLocust

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My understanding - if I'm mixed up, let me know.
Corn is to polenta as hominy is to grits. (Yellow corn, white hominy.)
Masa-ca is finely ground corn with lime for tortillas.
Is that wrong?
We ate hominy like corn growing up with butter and salt.
Favorite way to eat polenta is second day, mixed with mashed potatoes and fried then topped w/ grated cheese - for breakfast. My Italian Gma got us hooked on that one.
Masa-ca, tortillas are the only thing I've ever made with it. I didn't know the lime was for digestion - figured it was for shelf life so that is interesting to me.
I have dehydrated corn in vacuum sealed jars. Might just depend upon what dishes you make as to what to keep.
I can't watch the videos at the moment, but will. So I know info. I'm missing.
 

Weedygarden

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My understanding - if I'm mixed up, let me know.
Corn is to polenta as hominy is to grits. (Yellow corn, white hominy.)
Masa-ca is finely ground corn with lime for tortillas.
Is that wrong?
You've got me. I have no idea!
Blue corn is what I canned. I think I bought 50 pounds of it. That is the quantity that I just saw that you have to buy where I bought it.
I just saw this. I dry canned blue corn into #10 cans, like you would can wheat or beans, or buy wheat and beans in #10 cans from some preparedness company. I believe I did this 8 years ago. With the oxygen absorbers, this corn should have a shelf life of at least 30 years.
 

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Costco had 25# bags of popcorn so I picked one up for corn meal. My mill will do wheat, corn, or beans.
 

freelove

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I have ground popcorn in my Country Living mill, but popcorn is very hard and it took a long time and ( I thought) it was hard on the plates. I make cornbread all the time with whole corn from Great River that I grind. It is softer than popcorn and makes wonderful cornbread. It can also be used for polenta, grits, tortillas anything you would use cornmeal for.


 

poltiregist

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After reading this thread decided to check my corn stash so as to be able to give an update on my corn storage . I put up several 50 # bags of livestock corn over three years ago when the great toliet paper shortage was first appearing . Today that corn appears to be just as solid and edible as the day I bought it . This was unexpected on my part as I didn't expect it to last but months before corn weavels started devouring it . My storing method - I simply put the bags inside an non-working freezer , walked off and wished it well . As an experiment have ground some up boiled it and ate it as grits . It was edible but will admit it was not as tasty as store bought grits . I know growing up , our corn crib always had weavils eating the corn so it was always a race to use the corn for livestock before it became too buggy . As to why my corn in the non-working freezer has remained bug free is unknown to me . --- I payed around $9.00 for each 50# bag of corn . As likely most of you know corn will swell up when boiled , so my estimation for each $9.00 spent I have about 250 lbs of food to set on the table .
 
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Weedygarden

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After reading this thread decided to check my corn stash so as to be able to give an update on my corn storage . I put up several 50 # bags of livestock corn over three years ago when the great toliet paper shortage was first appearing . Today that corn appears to be just as solid and edible as the day I bought it . This was unexpected on my part as I didn't expect it to last but months before corn weavels started devouring it . My storing method - I simply put the bags inside an non-working freezer , walked off and wished it well . As an experiment have ground some up boiled it and ate it as grits . It was edible but will admit it was not as tasty as store bought grits . I know growing up , our corn crib always had weavils eating the corn so it was always a race to use the corn for livestock before it became too buggy . As to why my corn in the non-working freezer has remained bug free is unknown to me . --- I payed around $9.00 for each 50# bag of corn . As likely most of you know corn will swell up when boiled , so my estimation for each $9.00 spent I have about 250 lbs of food to set on the table .
I am curious. When I first started looking for food for storage, I bought from a few different suppliers. I believe my first wheat was organic, and more expensive. I found livestock grade wheat for much cheaper. When I asked what the difference was, I was told that animal grade is not as clean. I am not sure exactly if that means that it wasn't processed as deeply and maybe had pieces of vegetation in it, or if it had dirt in it that would be washed by me before I used it. I wonder this about the corn. What makes animal grade different than say what I would buy from a place in the Denver metro area called Golden Organics? Perhaps it is not organically grown, but what else? Golden Organics –
 

SheepDog

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Feed corn is not the same sweet corn that we eat. It is a different grain added to the difference in processing.
You can eat it but it tastes different and it has more "skin" and is tougher. If you grind it you can remove some of the unwanted stuff and add sugar to make it better tasting.It doesn't have the FDA stamp of approval.
 

Weedygarden

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Feed corn is not the same sweet corn that we eat. It is a different grain added to the difference in processing.
You can eat it but it tastes different and it has more "skin" and is tougher. If you grind it you can remove some of the unwanted stuff and add sugar to make it better tasting.It doesn't have the FDA stamp of approval.
The corn that is used for cornmeal is not sweet corn either, I believe.

When people plant sweet corn in their fields, they sometimes have people come and take some. One thing I have read about is that people who want to grow a bunch of sweet corn and not have someone come and take it without permission sometimes plant field corn in some outside rows, and plant the sweet corn further in.


There are six types of corn kernels: flint, flour, dent, pop, sweet, and waxy. Flour corn is mostly grown in the Andean region of South America and is used to make corn flour. Waxy corn is grown in China and has a texture that is more like glutinous rice. Grab some butter and salt, and let's look at some of the different types of corn and how a few farmers are trying to keep corn diversity alive.

TYPES OF CORN
1. DENT CORN

ear of corn

Dent corn, which is also known as "field corn," is an easy type of corn to spot -- there's a dent in the crown of each individual kernel of corn. It has a high starch and low sugar content, which means it's not sweet and juicy like the corn you buy to eat from the grocery store or farmers market. Because it's not meant to be eaten fresh, dent corn is harvested in its mature stage when the kernels are dry and then processed.
Most dent corn grown in the U.S. winds up as animal feed, though because of its soft starch, dent corn is used as a grain in products like chips and masa (a corn flour used to make corn tortillas). Dent corn is also used to make moonshine and bourbon. The majority of corn grown in the U.S. is yellow dent corn, though you may also find dent corn in a range of colors.
2. SWEET CORN
types of corn

Sweet corn is what you eat for dinner (or breakfast or lunch -- there's no bad time to eat fresh corn). It has a high sugar content, which is why it's desirable as a fresh corn. It's picked while immature, before the sugar has a chance to turn into starch, in what is known as the milk stage. Fresh, sweet corn is juicy; the juice, or "milk," is how you get the creaminess of cream corn.

This type of corn comes in white, yellow, and colored varieties, and at the grocery store, you're generally just going to find it labeled as "corn." You may also see super-sweet corn; this variety is sweet corn with the sugar content enhanced for a sweeter flavor.
3. FLINT CORN
ears of corn

Flint corn is also known as Indian corn or calico corn, and it's even harder than dent corn. If you see decorative corn (those fall-colored ears with the husks still on them), it's almost certain to be flint corn. However, flint corn has a high nutrient value and once the grains are dried, they can be used for any number of foods, including corn meal, corn flour, hominy, polenta, and grits.
Flint corn that has a hard outer shell is what gets turned into popcorn. The kernels are dried to a point where they have a certain moisture content left; then when the dried kernels are heated, the remaining moisture turns into steam and causes the kernel to turn inside out, or pop.
This type of corn is grown mostly in South America in countries like Argentina. In the U.S., you may find it at local stores and farmers markets as popcorn.
4. HEIRLOOM CORN
types of corn

There used to be far more variety in corn than there is today, but industrial farming has led to a narrower selection, with only a few types of corn being grown by large farmers. The end users of corn want a standardized product that's the same every year, so that's what large-scale farmers tend to grow. Heirloom corn refers to corn that's not mass produced and tends to be varieties that have all but disappeared.
Fortunately, there are farmers working to bring back heirloom varieties of corn. It's not always an easy process, though, saving corn. In the case of Jimmy Red, it came down to two ears and a South Carolina farmer.
Jimmy Red is a crimson red dent corn with a rich and oily germ that, back in the day, was known for making outstanding moonshine. When the last bootlegger died in the early 2000s, South Carolina farmer Ted Chewning got his hands on the last two ears of Jimmy Red corn. Chewning, a well-known seed saver, turned those two ears into seed and by carefully cultivating the seeds year after year. He gave seeds to other local farms and a few chefs, and the heirloom corn now has its own cult following.


This type of corn is used by famed Charleston chef Sean Brock; he even has a tattoo of the corn on his arm. Other Charleston chefs, including Forrest Parker and Jason Stanhope, use the corn as well, especially for making grits.
And Jimmy Red still makes a fine hooch. High Wire Distilling, also based in Charleston, was able to make two barrels of bourbon using only the red corn from a 2014 crop. Cementing Jimmy Red's legendary status, the 570 bottles from those two barrels sold out in 11 minutes.
Today, you can buy heirloom corn varieties to grow or to cook with, including a corn that creates pink "unicorn" grits. If you can't find it in your local store, it's available online from places like Anson Mills or Geechie Boy Mill.
This article was originally published on April 23, 2018.
 

poltiregist

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I am curious. When I first started looking for food for storage, I bought from a few different suppliers. I believe my first wheat was organic, and more expensive. I found livestock grade wheat for much cheaper. When I asked what the difference was, I was told that animal grade is not as clean. I am not sure exactly if that means that it wasn't processed as deeply and maybe had pieces of vegetation in it, or if it had dirt in it that would be washed by me before I used it. I wonder this about the corn. What makes animal grade different than say what I would buy from a place in the Denver metro area called Golden Organics? Perhaps it is not organically grown, but what else? Golden Organics –
Likely the difference between livestock grade grain and human grade grain is zero and came out of the same grain bin . They do the same thing with touted deer corn and livestock corn . They put it in different bags and sell it for different prices . Wheat for example , instead of buying wheat seeds for planting you can buy livestock wheat cheaper and get the same planting results . It is simply labeled differently . Organically grown from what I have read is also a gimmick for extorting money .
 

Weedygarden

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Likely the difference between livestock grade grain and human grade grain is zero and came out of the same grain bin . They do the same thing with touted deer corn and livestock corn . They put it in different bags and sell it for different prices . Wheat for example , instead of buying wheat seeds for planting you can buy livestock wheat cheaper and get the same planting results . It is simply labeled differently . Organically grown from what I have read is also a gimmick for extorting money .
I believe this is true for many things, but not all.
When I bought animal grade wheat at the feed store and repackaged it, I could see the difference. There was chaff and dirt in it. I also repackaged some organic wheat and it was clean with no chaff and dirt.
 

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A long time ago, on a site far far away, I saw a design someone had come up with to clean animal feed wheat. Basically it was setup to drop wheat past a 4" pipe with a blower attached. The wheat dropped past and the chaff was blown further. They had a system for cleaning rocks.
 
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