Friday, August 23, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Indian Corn...My Gardener Guy grows!

I might not be able to tell you everything but I can sure share what I have learned...
One day while in Salt Lake we stopped into a garden store/nursery, I have driven by it a few times thinking one of these days I need to stop and take a look around. Well after a long winter of lots of snow when the garden stores/nurseries started to begin putting out inventory I got the itch to get out of the house and look around...The nursery we went to was Western Garden Center, they have three locations and the downtown Salt Lake location is about 20 miles from me. There were two things I was looking for seeds and fairy garden stuff. I did not find any trinkets for my soon to be fairy garden even if I did I knew I could not buy them with My Gardner Guy with me. But, I found seeds, he never says no to seeds. That's were I found Smoke Signals Indian corn seed....from Seed savers. They have a fantastic website at www.seedsavers.org. Any way My Gardner Guy said yes, and our adventure with growing the Indian corn begun.

 According to the package it saids you can pop it and it is suppose to be delicious. I don't know if it is, I will perhaps try sampling an ear or more later as it finishes drying. I was interested using it for fall decorating the ornamental aspect. I have a few visions of wreaths to centerpieces, the looks of my grandchildren's face as they inspect this pretty colorful corn. The pumpkins are close to harvesting and I have made up a Halloween bag of goodies for each family to enjoy. Following Halloween the dried corns stalks and Indian corn can still decorated theirs homes well into Turkey Day!!!

I plan on telling the grandcritters...a little history. These colorful ears were named after the native Indians of North America. They'd been cultivating it for years when they introduced it to the Europeans who arrived in the Western Hemisphere in the 15th century. But "Indian corn" isn't exclusive to the North American continent. Experts say that it grew in China, India and South America for centuries. And our ancestors didn't decorate with it -- they ate it.

From what I have read it's not sweet like sweet corn, and when it's cooked it has a very starchy texture, much like hominy. Hominy is used to make grits...maybe a few of the grandcritters would like this corn because I have some grandcritters who love their grits. Indian corn can be ground to make flour, or the whole kernel can be reserved for popcorn. Ears with larger kernels are used for flour or cornmeal production, while those with small, pointy kernels are perfect for popcorn.

Now for some tips...  If you're growing Indian corn for ornamental use, be sure to wait until the husks are no longer green to pick them, then let the ears dry for about a week. We laid ours out on the dining room table, rotating them a few times. I pulled most of the husk up and tied them with string. I can remove the string later but I wanted the husked to dry a little more in a straighter position. Once they a dried, you can store them at room temperature for four to six months. Some people like to coat Indian corn with lacquer to give it a shiny appearance while others prefer the plant's natural look. And if you want to have another Indian corn harvest next year, at the end of the season, pick the largest, healthiest seeds from each cob and store them in metal, animal-proof containers. One year I sat some pieces of Indian corn outside hanging from the our scare crow Mr. Ralph. Mr Ralph sits on our front porch near the front store most of October and November. I gave Mr. Ralph a basket of corn to hold and the squirrels had fun with the Indian corn!!!




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