From cob to cracker

Indian corn or flint corn

Really, I wanted to show the photo of Mark’s pretty corn cobs. This is commonly called Indian corn or flint corn. It is maize, not sweetcorn so not suitable for eating as corn on the cob. Modern sweetcorn is a very different crop after a great deal of selection to get strains with very high sugar content – so much so that I often find them too sweet.  I think Mark just grew the Indian corn out of curiosity the first time. This year he put in a bigger row of it because we used all the previous crop and he is looking for grain crops that we can grow, harvest and use here.

I only have a photo of dead pheasant. We found two which had been hit on the road but he counted more than that in the patch.

He was loving the presence of the growing population of beautiful pheasants in his cropping area across the road until he realised they had quietly consumed about a third of the Indian corn. We are still delighted to have a local population of exotic-looking pheasants but he hastily harvested the remaining cobs.

Curiously, when I dehusk the dried cobs, the remaining core also shows colour variation. Red kernels usually mean a red or purple cob.

Kernels, maize flour and the handy old coffee grinder I kept in case it was needed again one day

What do we do with the corn? Home made corn crackers! I first tried grinding the kernels in the food processor and it had to work hard to achieve a fairly coarse result. I worried the meal may crack tooth fillings. Then I remembered the old electric coffee grinder I put away in a top cupboard when we upgraded to a burr grinder for coffee beans. It does an excellent job. The texture is not completely consistent and I don’t think I can manage the process to get polenta meal out of it, but it is fine for crackers. I have stopped buying corn chips and taco shells. My thin crackers make a more than acceptable substitute, though I would be lying if I said they tasted the same. I have learned that the kernels need grinding immediately before they are used because the flour goes mouldy really quickly.

I doubt that many readers have a crop of maize or Indian corn sitting around waiting to be used, but just in case, I offer you my recipe which I adapted from a great recipe I was given for making seedy crackers.

About 1 ¾ cups of fresh ground maize flour

¾ cup of spelt flour

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup olive oil

½ cup water

Mix and then roll out thinly on baking paper with another sheet of paper on top. Sprinkle the top with coarse salt flakes and grated parmesan cheese or similar (I used grana padano because that was what I had) and cut the sheet of cracker into suitable sized squares but leave it as a sheet.

Bake in a medium low oven (about 130 on fanbake) until it is golden brown and crisp (about 30 mins but keep an eye on it).

That is it. From grinding the corn to getting crispy, tasty crackers out of the oven takes about 40 minutes. We ate them this evening with chilli beans (homegrown, of course) and will continue to eat them during the week as a snack, with or without toppings.

Rolled and ready for baking 

The finished crackers

11 thoughts on “From cob to cracker

  1. Dale Lethbridge

    Beautiful colours . I see them reflected in weavings and art of the country of origin. In mosaics too.

  2. Tim Dutton

    What a great idea Abbie! We’ve seen the seeds for several varieties advertised in the Kings Seeds catalogue, but I’d never thought of growing them. How long do they take to dry and how many cobs are needed to make the amount of maize flour in your recipe? Then I’ll know how much space needs to be allocated in the garden for a trial crop this year.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Mark just leaves the cobs to dry on the plant, bringing them in before the autumn rains arrive – and before his resident pheasants eat the lot. I take the kernels off when I can be bothered. There are still some waiting to be done, laid flat on a tray out in the shed. I have never measured but I would think somewhere between two and three cobs (depending on size) per batch of crackers. Being a heritage variety, you can save your own seed for the following year if you decide they are worth growing.

      1. tonytomeo

        That must be why he or she (probably he) looks rather stout. The face looks like those of Eastern North America . . . . except it is sort of, well, dead.

      2. Abbie Jury Post author

        Road kill. Mark picked up two. I casseroled one but I am really not keen on eating game. I think they were introduced to NZ for hunting by the more upper class English early settlers.

      3. Abbie Jury Post author

        Our road kill is largely possums with smaller numbers of cats, rabbits and hares. All introduced and all small. Though a possum took out the undercarriage when we drove an old Citroen with a solid (rusting in our case) undercarriage. Australian road kill is terrifying – kangaroos and wombats easily write off vehicles. They are seriously big, solid animals.

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