Cornmeal is one of those grains which is debated by some on whether to store or not to store for food storage. I believe this is a personal preference. If your family uses cornmeal in your every day cooking then it is a must! If it is one of those food items that you never or seldom use then it may or may not be for your food storage? You need to ask yourself these questions? Does my family not like cornmeal? Or do I just never cook with because I don’t know how to use it? If the answer was my family does not like it, then I would store a small amount or none. If you answered, I don’t know how to use it…..then before you start storing it learn to use it!
For those newbie’s to food storage, cornmeal comes from corn. I know this may seem like a stupid statement to some of you. But during the past year of hosting food storage classes, it was one of my biggest surprises to see how many people were amazed when I began grinding popcorn into cornmeal. I was reminded by a family member not everyone was raised in rural America, that some people were raised in the urban cities. And thus they only know going to the grocery store and buying a package
of cornmeal, not how to make it.
Corn, as most of us know, is a grain native to the Americas. The United States grows about 40% of corn produced worldwide. An important region of the United States is identified as the “Corn Belt”. This area is defined as Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Indiana. For centuries, corn has been used in a variety of recipes from fresh corn on the cob to grinding the dry corn into cornmeal or corn flour for baking breads, muffins and dishes such as hominy, grits and polenta. Corn can come in a variety of colors; yellow, white, red and blue. The key to using corn for long-term storage is the corn needs to be completely devoid of moisture. Dried corn can become a pantry staple in any long-term storage, these dried kernels will last longer than the cornmeal….and fresh cornmeal….of yeah!
If you have only had store bought cornmeal, then you don’t know what you are missing with fresh cornmeal made into cornbread.
If you have a grinder, then I recommend you purchase corn for your food storage and if you don’t then purchase cornmeal for your food storage.
Note: Not every grinder can handle corn; the cheaper versions of grinders will break eventually from grinding corn. My suggestions…..add a grinder to your wish list. I got one for x-mas a few years ago…and love it and this year I added a manual grinder (I have not used the manual grinder yet, but I am hoping to
Fresh corn on the cob vs. Fresh Green Beans. This is a tough choice if I would have to pick one over the other, during my summers growing up these two food items were a part of our every day meals. So while working at some expo’s and handing out freeze dried corn samples, I am always shocked to hear at
least one person say, “No thanks, Corn doesn’t have any vitamins or nutritional value.” Wrong!!!
“While it might sound surprising to some people who are used to thinking about corn as a plain, staple food, or a snack food, or a summertime party food, corn is actually a unique phytonutrient-rich food that provides us with well-documented antioxidant benefits. In terms of conventional antioxidant nutrients, corn is a good source of vitamin C as well as the mineral manganese. But it is corn's phytonutrients that have taken center stage in the antioxidant research on corn,” according to whfoods.com. Also corn contains many A and B vitamins, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and Linoleic acid. Corn contains more vitamin A than any other grain cereal. Corn is a high energy food because of the starch content. And combine corn and legumes and you have a complete protein.
Health Note: Antioxidant activity helps protect the body from cancer and heart disease. While lutein and
zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that promote healthy vision ….this is all found in sweet corn.
To read more about the antioxidant and such …check out the website http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=90
Canned sweet corn: This could be commercial canned or home canned sweet corn; this is great for shorter term storage. Storage depends on the expiration date from the manufacture.
Perfect for long term storage, with a shelf life of 25-30 years if properly packaged.
possible, grinding your own corn meal is much more nutritious … (There is different types of cornmeal, which I will discuss a bit later in this post.)
starchy interior which tends to shatter when ground and because of this you end up with gritty flour. Flint corn makes great corn meal. If stored properly it can have a shelf life up to 25 years.
corn. Cornstarch is a commonly used thickener for sauces, gravies and fruit pie fillings. It has an
indefinite shelf life.
However, seed storage for planting is a great idea.
Now that we have discussed the different types of corn storage…and cornmeal is one of those options. Lets discuss more in details cornmeal. Cornmeal comes in three textures: fine, medium and coarse. And it is ground in of one of two ways:
Steel ground Cornmeal: This is the most common cornmeal found in the United States. Steel ground has the husk and germ of the kernel almost completely removed. Due to the germ being removed it does lose some of its flavor, but increases the shelf life. Once opened it can keep up to a year, if stored in an airtight
container, but will last longer if kept in the refrigerator or freezer.
Stone-ground Cornmeal / Water-ground Cornmeal: Retains some of the hull and germ, lending more
flavor and nutrition. Because it contains some of the germ, once opened it will only last a few
months and must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Depending on the type of corn used, cornmeal can be one of four colors: Yellow, white, blue and red. Yellow cornmeal is the most common, while white cornmeal is more popular in the southern parts of the U.S. Blue or red cornmeal is used for tortillas in the southwest.
Packaging: All grains should be stored in a moisture proof food grade container. This container could be a Mylar bag, polyethylene bags, plastic buckets or #10 cans. Store your corn /cornmeal in manageable amounts such as 5 lb bags; this will also help with rotation. Most importantly it allows easier inspection and if contamination does occur it does not allow exposure to your whole stock of corn / cornmeal. Also several smaller bags can be places inside a 5 gallon plastic bucket.
Note: Rodents and insects can penetrate plastic bags
TIP: Because cornmeal is so susceptible to those little bugs....if your purchase your cornmeal, immediately place it in the freezer for 2 weeks. This process will kill those little critters. So people do double step...purchase, freeze for 2 weeks, set out for 2 weeks at room temperature and then refreeze for 2 weeks (just in case there were any eggs that would hatch). Then place in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and place in food safe plastic bucket with lid or vacuum seal in jars.
Storage / Shelf Life: Rotate, Rotate, Rotate.....with any of your food storage you need to develop a program
to rotate your supplies on a regular basis. First in first out.....in others words as you use your stored cornmeal replace it with new cornmeal. Label each container with product and storage date. Commercial vacuum sealed cornmeal can have a shelf life up to 25 years if stored properly. And steel ground cornmeal 6 months to 1 year once opened, if kept in a airtight container and up 1 year to 18 months in the refrigerator and up to 2 years if stored in a freezer. And stone-ground 3 – 4 months once opened if stored in the refrigerator.
How much cornmeal do I need in storage? 1 Adult needs 25 pounds of corn meal for a 12 month or 1 year supply.
Use from storage: Freeze-dried or dehydrated corn can be used as a vegetable in stews or casseroles or as a side dish, stored popcorn can be popped into popcorn for a snack, while flint, dent or popcorn can be ground into flour or cornmeal. Corn flour can then be used to make corn masa in which you then can make tortillas. And cornmeal can be used to make cornbread, muffins or used for the breading of fried items or hushpuppies…
Note: You will know when cornmeal has gone bad….it starts to smell bad. The rancid smell is due to the spoiling of the oils from the germ in the cornmeal. Beware of insects…..ants and other bugs love cornmeal…so might sure you store in a airtight container.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a
boil. Place cornmeal in a large metal or glass bowl. Stirring continuously, slowly pour the boiling water over
the cornmeal. Keep stirring until the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, almost room temperature. Add the brown sugar and stir until combined.
Whisk eggs until pale yellow in separate bowl. Add buttermilk and whisk until blended. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk mixture, to the cornmeal in three parts (beginning and ending with the flour mixture), stirring after each addition until just combined.
Heat a skillet or griddle pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray and drop batter in 1/4 cup batches onto skillet. Cook until medium-brown, about 3 minutes, and the tops are bubbly, then flip the griddle cakes over and cook the other side for about 2 minutes and serve immediately.
Serve with butter, pecans and maple syrup.
1/3 cup finely ground cornmeal
1/3 cup room temperature water
1 cup water
Sugar and milk to taste
Dusting of freshly ground cinnamon
1. Add cornmeal and 1/3 cup water to a bowl and let soak for 5minutes
2. Heat 1 cup water and bring to a boil on medium heat. When the water comes to a boil, pour in soaked
cornmeal (scrape the bowl to get everything)
3. Stir with a whisk immediately to avoid lumps. Reduce heat to low and let cook for 4 - 5 minutes
4. Sweeten with sugar and milk to taste, pour into a bowl, dust with ground cinnamon and eat hot