Saturday, October 23, 2010

In continuing the series on different grains, I am featuring the well known but not used to its potential, corn! There are several different types of corn: red, black, white, blue, and of course yellow. My goal this month is to help give a quick short lesson on the common little grain to help you use the little grain to get the fresh flavor in your baking. On a side note, this grain falls into the Gluten Free category!

What's the deal with colors?
Darker varieties contain greater quantities of antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins. Blue corn tortillas contain about 20% more protein and 8% less starch giving them a lower glycemic index than the more common version made with white corn. (info: Dr. Luis Bello-Perez in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture)
Below is a chart with the break down of nutrition of our common grain: corn.

How to select Great Corn:
Since heat rapidly converts the sugar in corn to starch, choose corn that is refrigerated and if purchasing from a farmer's market or roadside stand, make sure it has at least been kept in the shade, out of direct sunlight. Corn that is fresh will exude a white milky substance. I won't go into cooking fresh corn as you all already have recipes and cookbooks galore addressing this.

How to make Great Cornmeal:
I use my Nutri Mill to make a wonderful fresh corn meal. I actually use popcorn to grind my fresh cornmeal! You can use dried field corn as well. I just find it is easier to use popcorn because we always have it on hand. Be sure not to use Orville Redenbacher popcorn as it has a higher moisture content. You an make the same cornbread recipe using Aunt Jamima's cornmeal and then make the same cornbread recipe with fresh ground cornmeal. The recipe with the fresh ground cornmeal will taste so much sweeter and have a better corn flavor. Fresh flour makes that much difference.

Nutrition Facts and Information about Corn:
Corn is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium. It also has small amounts of potassium.

Vitamin Content: Corn has Vitamin B (Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Riboflavin, Folate). It has traces of Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

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