Why Grow Dent Corn?
Reviewing your seed catalogs in the (finally!) rainy autumn, you see the beautiful colors that dent corn can come in–blue, red, even rainbow “Gem”–and you don’t know why you’d want to grow corn you can’t eat fresh. What’s the point? Why colorful cornbread, of course!
Dent corn varieties are grown to be consumed dry, not fresh. Popcorn is similar, in that it should be dried, but not all dent or flint corn can be popped well, just as not all popping corn would make good meal or flour. Dent corn is used for cornmeal and polenta, others work best as flour. Blue corn flour is even considered more nutritious than yellow corn flour!
We have a Victorio hand-crank mill, but there are attachments for mixers or even for blenders to make the job a lot-less time consuming. For our family, we don’t grind corn often, but when we do we delight in the fun colors and different flavors of home-grown corn meal. My kids also loved the opportunity to watch the corn turn into meal as they turned the crank.
We made skillet cornbread for Thanksgiving this year from Bloody Butcher corn (such an awesome name!). The final product is not pink, unfortunately, but is definitely a different tone than ordinary cornbread, with dark crimson flecks.
I’ve never seen cornmeal for sale in any color but yellow, so I find grinding our own colorful meal to be a fun benefit of growing our own. And, since we keep the kernels whole in storage, they will keep indefinitely, so one harvest will keep us in Bloody Butcher cornmeal for years to come!