Cooking with cornmeal is a great way to add texture and flavor to a variety of dishes. Not only is it a versatile ingredient, but it’s also extremely easy to make at home. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to make cornmeal, from types of corn to the best methods for grinding it. Let’s get started!
What is Cornmeal?
Cornmeal is a type of ground corn that is used in many recipes, ranging from breads and pancakes to polenta and cornbread. It is made by grinding dry, whole corn kernels into a coarse powder that resembles a fine flour. The texture and flavor of the cornmeal will depend on the type of corn used and the coarseness of the grind.
Types of Corn Used for Making Cornmeal
There are several different types of corn that can be used for making cornmeal. The most common are white or yellow corn, but other varieties such as blue, red, and purple corn are also becoming increasingly popular. Each type of corn will produce a different flavor and texture in the finished product.
White or yellow corn is the most traditional choice for making cornmeal. It is the most widely available and produces a slightly sweet flavor with a coarse texture. Blue corn, which is more widely available in the Southwest, has a slightly nuttier flavor and a softer texture. Red and purple corn are becoming more popular due to their unique flavor and color.
Grinding & Processing Corn to Make Cornmeal
The process of making cornmeal begins with grinding the corn into a coarse powder. This can be done with a mortar and pestle, a food processor, or a grain mill. If using a grain mill, make sure to use the correct setting to ensure the corn is ground to the desired texture.
Once the corn has been ground, the next step is to process it into a finer meal. This can be done by sifting the ground corn through a mesh sieve or by running it through a food mill. The finer the sieve or mill, the finer the texture of the finished cornmeal.
Cooking With Cornmeal
Once you’ve made your own cornmeal, you can use it in a variety of recipes. Delicious cornbread, pancakes, and polenta are all popular dishes that are made with cornmeal. It can also be used as a coating for fried foods such as chicken or fish, or used in place of breadcrumbs in baking recipes.
When cooking with cornmeal, it’s important to remember that it absorbs liquid quickly. This means that recipes may need to be adjusted to account for the extra liquid. Additionally, cornmeal should be cooked slowly and over low heat to ensure it cooks evenly and doesn’t become gritty.
Storage Tips for Cornmeal
When storing cornmeal, it is important to keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It is best to store it in the refrigerator or freezer to ensure it stays fresher for longer. If stored properly, cornmeal should last up to a year.
Making cornmeal at home is a simple and rewarding process. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be able to customize the flavor and texture of your cornmeal. With a few basic tips and tricks, you’ll be able to make delicious cornmeal-based dishes in no time. So, grab some corn kernels and get cooking!