I like grits and most of the time I feel like I am the only one who does. Whenever I look for grits at the store all I can find are instant grits and that doesn't help me at all. Sure I can go online and order quality grits from Anson Mills but that would be to easy. Last year about this time, I had an idea that I would like to grow my own corn and make my own grits. I mentioned the idea to a good friend of mine and the next thing you know we were growing corn. When I say "we" I mean Rick was growing corn. He has a small hobbie farm near Cannon Falls, Mn and said he had room to put in a few rows of corn. He chose a beautiful Oaxacan Green dent corn that is supposed to be pretty good for making into meal and grits. Rick planted a lot of corn, I wasn't really sure we would need that much corn but then again we just might.
Rick's corn really took off and from very early on in the process we could tell that this was going to be good corn. There is an only farmers saying about corn, that the corn should be knee high by the fourth of July if you are going to have a good crop. the picture above is from July 7th this year. Rick is six feet tall. We didn't get any pictures of the corn before it was picked but his stalks were well over ten feet tall and most of the stalks had three ears of corn on them.
After the corn was picked came the drying phase Rick had to open up all the corn and then tie it into bundles to let the corn dry before it could be milled. It hung for several weeks before it was ready to be shelled. I had purchased a hand cranked, cast iron shelling machine that worked perfectly for removing the corn from the cob. I tried to upload a video but couldn't get it to work. I also purchased mill attachment for my Kitchen Aid Mixer so I could mill all the corn myself.
I milled three cups of corn and got about 4 cups of corn meal. the color of the green dent corn is really quite beautiful when it is milled. You would think the first thing I would have done with it was make grits but I went with cornbread instead. I followed Sean Brocks Cornbread recipe and was absolutely blown away at how good that cornbread was. I know a certain amount of it had to do with the process of getting the meal. When you put in the effort to make something like your own grits or cornmeal you can taste that. All of Rick's hard work to grow this amazing corn was worth it. Cornberad is just the beginning. I have enough corn to make everything corn related so I am going to make grits and then tamales, and tortillas and I have been playing around with a corn pudding that should be pretty amazing. So stay tuned for more corn related posts and if you have any suggestions on how I should use this stuff please share.