Sunday, October 3, 2010
Popcorn and Dent Corn
It looks a bit like yellow sweet corn, but the kernels are larger, flatter, have a slight dent on their outer surface (hence the name dent corn) and have been left to mature to a dry, storage state. This yellow corn is intended for yellow corn meal. From this point on it will be left to dry in the field a bit longer, then threshed off the cob when someone has time to do it. Then the loose, dry corn will store until periodic milling creates corn meal and polenta all winter long. See if you can get your hands on some yellow this season, last year local farm supporting restaurant Rosso Pizzeria consumed nearly the entire crop in order to fill their menu and serve their customers. We couldn't complain, but a few of you did when seeking a traditionally hued corn meal.
Then there is the popcorn. There is a visible difference between this corn and the former. Small and hard kernels that burst when provided the right conditions, versus the large and smooth dent kernels shown above that are obviously much better suited for flour processing.
So many types of corn are out there. No wonder scientists have gone crazy trying to modify the genes into the next best thing. Corn crops also cross pollinate readily on their own. On the farm they are kept in separate blocks to ensure this does not occur as we like to keep consistent strains of the heirloom types chosen to grow and save the seed for future corn generations on the farm. This season there are blue, green, yellow and pink cornmeal crops on their way to harvest any moment. The red popcorn is out there and perhaps a few stalks of blue (this was less successful). Is is a fun time to take a stroll in the field to observe the corn in it's mature state. You are always welcome to do just that.