Earlier this year, we purchased cobs of corn from the farmer’s market. When I shucked them, two of the pieces were almost completely dried out. Most certainly too far-gone to boil that night and eat. My husband’s famous line of “Why don’t we throw it in the compost?” rang through the house. No way! I bought this corn, I was going to use it! Zero waste doesn’t only count for no trash in the bin, it means not wasting, period. I wasn’t about to feed the compost good corn. Popcorn ran through my head. Which got me to thinking….the Native Americans dried corn to make a type of cornbread…why couldn’t I?
I left the corn on a baking sheet for at least two months to completely dry out on the back porch. My husband checked it constantly. “It hasn’t molded yet,” he’d say. I wasn’t sure about the time frame, but I knew it shouldn’t mold for a while.We pulled the dried kernels off and placed them in an air tight container to deal with later.
A few weeks later, I opened it to discover a bit of mold on the very ends. “Augh! I should have done this weeks ago,” I thought. But I threw it all in the food processor anyway, and thought about not telling my man. I do that sometimes when I drop food on the floor and I figure he won’t know the difference. I worked in restaurants for years. (Spoiler! They do it there too.) Lifting the lid, a dusty swirl made me cough. Great. I probably inhaled mold spores. That was my punishment for attempting to feed my husband moldy corn. I convinced myself the small amount of mold now hung in the air, not in the cornmeal. Ah, but I didn’t get sick or die the next day, so all was good.
The two corn cobs worth of kernels didn’t make enough for an entire mess of cornbread, but it did give me almost one full cup!
I created this recipe as I went along , taking a few steps off the internet and a few from the cornmeal package I normally use to make my cornbread:
1. I mixed the cup of “homemade cornmeal” with 1 and 1/4 cups cornmeal out of the package (stone-ground cornMEAL, not cornmeal MIX). The packaged cornmeal was much softer, more like flour. The homemade corn meal was more like sand. It didn’t want to process much more than that.
2. I added 1 and 3/4 tbsp baking powder, a little more than 3/4 tsp salt, and 1 and 1/2 cups 2% milk.
3. I added two lightly beaten eggs to this, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup olive oil.
4. Oiled the pan and poured it in.
25 minutes later, I had a look…
It tasted a tad dry, but otherwise spot on with my normal cornbread. And I could pronounce every single ingredient!
What I’d do differently next time:
1. Use buttermilk instead of regular milk. It creates a moister corn cake.
2. Not dry the corn out for months on the back porch. I’m pretty sure it was as dry as it was going to get within two weeks.
3. I’d hang the corn in order to dry it faster.
4. I wouldn’t wait so long to throw it in the food processor. Because it was fresh, without all the preservatives, it did begin to mold toward the end.
5. AND the next time I do it, I’m going to dry out 5 to 6 pieces of corn and try it COMPLETELY homemade. This time I just wanted to see if it worked.
Well, it did. If making your own food is so darn easy, I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this all along. The only time-consuming part was waiting for the corn to dry out. Next time, I’ll look for older corn. Fresh corn on the cob is sooo much cheaper than buying the meal/mix.
I figured something out all by myself AND it worked. I feel like I won the lottery!
Other cornbread and corn muffin recipes:
- Cornbread in the crock pot (gicrockpot.wordpress.com)
- Cornbread Recipe (thedailymeal.com)
- GOOD TO KNOW: White corn meal = Best corn bread. Evah. (kitchenslattern.com)
- Corn Muffins (handmplanninginthekitchen.wordpress.com)