Monday, October 17, 2011

Corny Cornbread

Larry has picked most of the Bloody Butcher corn and I have been drying it by spreading it out on a table in the sun. What is Bloody Butcher corn? It is an old-time variety grown especially for making cornmeal and cornbread. The kernel are dark red, but when ground the meal is whitish, with red flecks. It makes lovely cornbread.

My corn wasn't really quite dry yet, but granddaughter Grace was visiting and she was so curious about the corn that I decided to try it out. I was curious myself--could I grind corn meal in my blender? I have a Corona Mill, bought in the 1970's when I last grew Bloody Butcher. It has been packed away in the outbuilding ever since, because I knew I would one day want to grow my own corn for meal again.


Grace and I picked a likely looking ear and shelled off about half of the kernels. I do this by rubbing the kernels hard until they work loose. It wasn't as easy as usual because the corn wasn't completely dry and the kernels held to the cob pretty tightly. But in about 3 or 4 minutes we had enough corn to grind. I dumped it into my blender, Grave pushed "puree" and we watched the corn bounce around. This wasn't going to work...or was it? We saw loose powdery stuff begin to fly around in the blender too. I stopped it and shook the blender jar a few times, and after 5 minutes we had corn meal.

This wasn't perfect meal, however--it was more gritty than what you might buy in the store. We forged ahead anyway. I turned the oven on to 400 degrees to preheat.

I tried to sift it but the meal was damp and that didn't work well so we just dumped all of the meal (about one cup) into a bowl, added a cup of self-rising flour and a tablespoon of baking powder, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 eggs, and a cup of milk. I heated 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a cast iron skillet while Grace beat the batter lightly with a fork, just until all the ingredients were moistened and mixed in (about 50 strokes usually). Then we poured the batter into the hot skillet and put the skillet into the oven.

In about 15 minutes we had a nice, browned pan of cornbread. It looked a little different when we cut it though. Uh-oh. Was this going to be edible? And no, it wasn't THAT purple on the left side--the photo came out very oddly, didn't it?

No photo will upload to show the happy faces eating the cornbread (thanks, Blogger!) but it was gone in less time than it took me to write this post. Tasty, with just a few bigger than expected bits, and an interesting color--it really looked like I'd added blueberries to the mix! The guys topped their pieces with butter and honey. I just added butter to my slice--it was delicious.

When the corn is dry I'll be making more, and we'll see how that turns out. As for the blender? I'm not convinced it's any easier than the grinder and I think the blender would wear out a lot sooner from grinding such hard kernels.

9 comments:

A Vintage Green said...

Fun to have a helper for your cornmeal/experiment/treat.

Mama-Bug said...

How wonderful to share this experience with a grandchild! From start to finish and warm cornbread to eat when you're done!

Granny Sue said...

It was fun, Joy--she's so curious and she loves to cook :)

Mama-bug, the guys said it was the best they'd ever had. Of course, they were right hungry after a game of golf. But they never hesitate to tell me exactly what they think, so I believe they meant it!

Storyteller Mary said...

I used to have a hand-grinder. My dad gave it to me when I was into baking bread, but it was too hard for me to turn. After a couple of moves, I gave it to the Unitarian church thrift shop. My Uncle Don has an electric grinder. They make all their own bread, and it's wonderful! I could almost taste your lovely cornbread! Thanks!

Brighid said...

I always enjoy your posts, and learn something new along the way.
Wish I could find a source book that had how the ol heirloom varieties got their names.

Marie (once The Tile Lady) said...

I can remember my grandmother shelling corn off the cob in just the way you describe! I would have loved to have been there to enjoy your hot delicious cornbread too! How fascinating that it turned out with a purple hue!

Granny Sue said...

Marie, I would bet you are one of a very few who have such a memory. How special that is. I hope my granddaughter remembers this when she's grown.

Anonymous said...

I remember shelling popcorn from the cob a time or two as a child. It wasn't easy and it wasn't fun! but we wanted some popped corn! That cornbread looks yummy! with or without the honey but real butter for sure!

Nance said...

oh darn it; that was me, Nance! not Anonymous (above)!

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