Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Mon Oct 20 13:26:32 EDT 2008
> >Remember that agricultural history is one of my
Then you and I could write a two tome opus on the history of agriculture,
perhaps. Your timeline passes over 3800 years (I think that's a low estimate if
we include all teosinte derived food plants, if indeed, corn is directly
descended from any extant teosinte species) of corn culture in a sentence and then
focuses on the last 200 years or so.
I love agricultural history too, but my interest begins to wane with the
advent of mechanical agriculture. Jethro Tull causes quite bit of mischief! So
I'd write the tome up to abpit 1690 or so and you take it from there.
I'm taking a break from shelling the last of last year's corn to make room in
the bins for this year's. Most of this corn in question is kitchen corn,
only the surplus is fed to animals. The innovations in mechanical corn culture
are only desireable when we want as low a percentage of farmers as possible and
when we intend on using most of that corn for animal feed. But I suppose a
main source of my lack of interest in mechanical cultivation is that here in
the mountains corn must be grown on small disjointed plots and a machine that
can be dragged along a row 10,000 feet long is of little advantage.
So concerning corn as people food, here's a synopsis if anyone is interested:
The dried corn is used in two ways: It is ground into meal or it is made
The meal, of course, is the basis for the traditional corn bread. Ground
corn is also the basis of corn grits (not hominy grits) and various forms of corn
mush and polenta. Mostly for us it is corn bread.
Most corn eaten as human food in the world probably starts out as hominy.
Hominy is made from two things: corn (of cousrse) and lime water.
Lime water can be made by adding any form of dehydrated lime to water.
Sources of dehydrated lime are agricultural lime, pickling lime, 'cal' from a
Mexican 'tienda'. You can also make your own by burning limestone. Just build a
hot hardwood fire over some pieces of limestone. The carbondioxide is driven
from the calcium carbonate leaving calcium oxide ... CaCO3 --> Ca0 + C02.
Caclcium oxide is also known as burnt lime. Limestone will contain some percent
of Magnesium Carbonate which by the same process will leave you with Magnesium
Oxide, and it's just about as good.
Put couple of table spoons of the lime (calcium oxide) ub a gallon of cold
water. It will form calcium hydroxide solution to saturation and any inert or
left over material will percipitate to the bottom. Pour off the very slighly
cloudy water, this is what is listed on the list of ingredients of some foods
as 'lime water.'
Put the dry corn kernals in a pot, preferably glass or enamal, and cover them
by a couple of inches with the lime water and bring to a boil. Then let is
sit overnight. The corn will swell and the hull around each kernal will
Rinse the corn with cold water to remove any remaining calcium hydroxide and
any bits of hull not completely dissolved.
This is hominy! A little salt and perhaps pepper and there you are.
>From this point you can can the hominy so you can just open a jar in a hurry
and have a vegetalbe. Pressure can same as with any veggie.
You can dry the hominy and later just add boiling water to reconsitute.
There is a traditional Cherokee recipe where you crack some of those very small
hickory nuts but don't even try to remove the tiny nutmeats. Put the broken
nuts in a bag and boil this with the dried hominy. Very good!
You can coarsely grind the dried hominy and you have hominy grits.
Squashing the freshly made hominy with a 'matate' or the like, or else
running it through one of those cheapie Corona mills (for which it is purposely
designed), then mixing the mashed up hominy with equal parts water gives you
'masa' from which you make tortillas and tamales.
There are lots of variations of this. The Hopi bread, 'piki', is made by
first grinding the corn into meal and then mixing it with wood ashes (which
contain potassium oxide and calcium oxide).
All from corn, and all easily made in the homestead kitchen.
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