Friday, January 15, 2016

A brief dedication to a staple crop.

What could be more ndn than corn?

So many of my best childhood memories involved devouring this stuff. Grilled, well seasoned next to some kind of perfectly cooked meat; ground up into meal and used as a base for breads, muffins, and desserts; as a stock and an ingredient for every soup my parents ever made; as a tortilla at the bottom of a taco or a corn cob jelly to top my cornbread. No matter the method, there is no better symbol of the indigenous experience than this.

I've also found that, among the Indian women I know, everyone has something of a ritual with corn. I thought I would write about mine.


I start by removing the husk and silk. While it is fully possible to cook corn perfectly inside the husk, the husk is burned using that method - a complete waste! Save everything, the creator made corn to be versatile for a reason! Husks go in one bag, silk (if you can manage to keep track of any of it) goes in another. Afterwards, both ends of the corn get broken off and saved as well, in a third bag.

Soak corn for 30 minutes in cold water. Do not soak any longer than 45 minutes. 

Take out aluminum foil. Brush corn all over in olive oil, then season heavily with freshly ground salt and pepper. Make sure you get it all over the corn, Wrap the aluminum foil around the corn cobs and they are ready to grill!


Since you are not grilling directly on the grate, no need to oil it. Heat to medium high and put your corn on the top shelf if available.

Close grill and cook for 8 minutes. Flip, close grill again, and cook additional 8 minutes.

Remove from grill, discard foil, set corn on plate close to each other. Cut butter into pieces and arrange all over cobs, allowing 5 minutes for the butter to melt all over the corn. Serve as a side with every dish! Haha :) 


Save your chewed up corn cobs in the same bag with the ends of corn. You should now have three bags of insanely useful stuff!

The corn husks can be dried and used for tamales and uchepos, They can also be used decoratively - you know that rustic look that's so popular in home catalogs now? Half of that stuff is using pine cones and corn husks. Make traditional dolls, christmas ornaments, or cat toys with your husks!

The silks can be dried and ground up into a tea for medicinal purposes, or ground into a powder and worked into beef patties for scientifically healthier burgers with no change in taste. Yeah, for real.

The cobs can be used as a soup stock. Simply get a big pot of water, add your chewed up cobs and corn scraps, add any other vegetable scraps you might like (onion, celery, carrot, whatever), and a healthy bit of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour. What you will end up with is one of the richest vegetable stocks imagineable, perfect for any soup base, and it can even be jarred and frozen for up to six months.

Until next time!