Indian Corn for the Table

9 11 2013

IMG_2317Indian corn welcomes us to our tables and greets us on our porches each autumn. We tuck these jewel-toned ears into baskets and nestle them among hay bales, their colorful kernels peeking out from nooks and crannies. Indian corn is one of the three varieties of maize cultivated by Native Americans for food. A hard outer shell covers each kernel, giving it the secondary name of flint corn. It survives low temperatures and resists freezing because of its low water content. Many Indian corn kernels contain the yellow pigment found in regular corn, but also display varying degrees of red, white, purple, orange, and black.

Hybrid varieties formed through cross-pollination IMG_7980mainly sell for décor instead of food to grace our Thanksgiving tables. It stores at room temperature for months to years depending on the climate. Indian corn is edible but not sweet, so it’s made into hominy for grits, ground into flour or cornmeal, or heated into popcorn. My family considers popcorn another food group. My husband grew up having popcorn for dinner once a week.

If you’re searching for an affordable and colorful Thanksgiving or autumn decoration, consider Indian corn. You’ll surely find a hue that complements your taste.

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