If you are a regular reader of the farm note you already know about the affection I hold for corn the plant. I feel exactly the same way about corn the food. I love it because it is our own native North American grain, in the same way that I love maple as our own form of sweetness. When I eat it I remember the corn in all its instars, from a bin of fluid yellow seed to the thousands upon thousands of milky tender seedling so tempting to the crows, to mighty summer grass waving in the wind, and finally the hefty ears on brown stalks, the kernels of which the kids and I test with our teeth in the fall until they are hard like stones.
We had this year’s dried corn in the share for the first time last week, and I’m feeling seriously Mexicana in the kitchen right now, so let’s talk about how to prepare it. Please note, members, that the whole corn in the share is not quite dry enough to store at room temperature yet. You should not take more than you will use in a week unless you keep it in the fridge or the freezer.
Corn fulfills its potential for flavor, energy and nutrition when prepared according to traditional methods. I’m talking about nixtamalization: cooking it in an alkaline solution to free up niacin, which also changes the taste and the color. Nixtamalization is the difference between corn and hominy and it is why corn chips and tortillas taste like they do; once you try it and realize how easy it is you are going to go nuts making delicious and interesting things like pozole (hominy stew), tamales, your own corn tortillas (I just bought a tortilla press), and – praise the lard – tortilla chips… Continue reading Kristin Kimball’s Essex Farm Note)