Blasts from the Past: How I Fell in Love with Cornmeal

When we first made our Food Storage Calculator, we promised ourselves we wouldn’t store any of the recommended foods unless we knew how we were going to use them. Since I didn’t have a wheat grinder (or even knew what wheat looked like yet) I decided to tackle cornmeal as my first “grain”. I remembered I had some in my cupboard so it seemed like a good item to start with.

Problem – My cornmeal was 3 years past expiration so I had to go buy a new canister before I could even get started. That goes to show you just HOW little I actually used it.

Confession – The first two recipes I tried were really delicious. My kids absolutely LOVED them and I thought they were great and not too hard to cook. However, several months later when I finally bought my WonderMill I made a discovery. You can grind popcorn (yes regular popcorn) into fresh ground cornmeal and OH MY GOODNESS it made all of my cornmeal recipes sooooo much better!

Give these recipes a try either with store-bought cornmeal or fresh ground popcorn and I promise you you will decide to add one or the other into your food storage:

Corn Pancakes
Buttermilk Cornbread

   

Now that I have some good cornmeal recipes on hand I think it will be really helpful if I am living off of my food storage because I can mix it up and not just eat ONLY wheat meals and breads every single day.


Food Storage Recipes: Corndog Muffins

So here is my confession. I really wanted to learn how to make homemade corndogs as a follow up on Thursday’s cornmeal post. (Yes you really CAN use corn/cornmeal in a LOT of different foods!) However, I got a little intimidated by the whole deep frying thing and I chickened out. But as I was looking at the corndog recipes I discovered that you can make corndog muffins and just bake them in the oven! So we had these for dinner and they were actually super easy and delicious!

img_6647

Corndog Muffin Recipe:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. cornmeal (about 1 c. fresh ground popcorn)
2 1/2 c. flour (about 2 c. fresh ground wheat)
1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs (can use powdered eggs)
2 c. milk (can use powdered milk)
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
6 hot dogs cut in thirds

img_6646Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Beat eggs and milk in a separate bowl. Add to dry mix and add cheese just until moistened. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until 2/3 full. Add 1 hot dog chunk to each muffin. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown.
 
 

I cut my hotdogs into smaller chunks and it wasn’t as good that way. I also think next time I might try it with my buttermilk cornbread recipe and just stick the hotdogs and cheese into that batter. I LOVE that cornbread recipe better than any other. The kids LOVED this recipe and it is very filling so we had tons of leftovers.


Let’s Talk About Corn/Cornmeal

In BabyStep 5: Grains we give you a list of grains which can/should be part of your long term food storage. Jodi started her grain storage with cornmeal because she didn’t have a wheat grinder yet and it seemed easy and non-intimidating, although she now prefers to store regular popping corn and grind it into fresh cornmeal. Here is a little more info on cornmeal and popping corn to help you decide if it’s a grain you want to include in your food storage.

popcorn

Types of Cornmeal:

Steel ground: The most common type of cornmeal, it has the husk and germ almost all removed. Because of this, steel ground cornmeal has less flavor and nutrients but does have a very long shelf life. This is the type you will typically find at the grocery store.
Stone ground: This type of cornmeal retains more of the husk and germ but because of this it is more perishable than steel ground.
Cornmeal can be found in white, yellow, red, and blue varieties. Yellow and white are the most common.

Types of Corn:

The basic types of dried corn used for food storage are: flint, dent, and popcorn. All can be used fairly interchangeably but flint is a little better for cornmeal, dent is better for corn masa, and popcorn is the most versatile since it can be popped for a snack OR ground into meal or flour. Corn can also be found in white, yellow, red, and blue. Yellow corn is often recommended over white corn since white corn does not contain carotene (which converts into vitamin A). Yellow dent corn is very common at food storage stores, but popping corn can easily be found at any grocery store.

Corn/Cornmeal Shelf Life:

Cornmeal: Between 6 and 18 months. Store in a cool dry place to help prolong this.
Corn: 8 years or more if stored in a sealed airtight container with an oxygen absorber.

Corn/Cornmeal Uses:

Dried corn can be used as a vegetable in stews, popped into popcorn, or ground into flour or cornmeal. Corn flour is most commonly used to make corn masa which is a dough used to make tortillas. Cornmeal (fresh ground or store bought) can be used to make delicious cornbread or corn cakes. It can also be made into hominy or grits.
 

Recommendations:

We recommend starting by purchasing a small amount of cornmeal and try some food storage recipes out and see if your family likes eating those foods. If it turns out to be something you really like, then we highly recommend storing a lot of popcorn and grinding it fresh which helps with flavor and gives you more nutrients. If you don’t have a wheat grinder available to you, try to buy cornmeal in good sealed containers such as #10 cans to help prolong the shelf life.

Food Storage Recipes: Corn Cakes

Do you ever have a favorite meal at a restaurant that gets discontinued? I spend a summer being a waitress at IHOP and ate their corn pancakes almost every night that I worked. I seriously was a little obsessed. Well after I stopped working there, we went to eat there one time and I was so excited to get my corn cakes. Well I was soooo sad to find out that they were no longer in the menu. It was one of those cases where I wanted to yell at the server but I knew it wasn’t their fault so I just quietly moped to myself.

I made a goal to recreate the recipe and when I got one of those restaurant copycat books that had an IHOP Country Griddle Cakes recipe in it I knew I was on to something. I replaced the cream of wheat with fresh ground cornmeal and had success! So in case you’ve never had the joy of eating IHOP corn cakes, here is the recipe for you.

IHOP Corn Cakes

Serving Size: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I used fresh ground whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal (I used popcorn ground in my WonderMill)
  • 1 egg (can use powdered eggs)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (can make with powdered milk)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Spray skillet with nonstick spray
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with a mixer set on medium speed. Mix until smooth, but don’t over mix.
  4. Pour the batter by 1/4 – 1/3 cup portions into the hot pan and cook for 1 to 3 minutes per side or until brown. Repeat with remaining batter.

Jodi’s Comments:

These are AMAZING! I used fresh ground whole wheat for the flour, and fresh ground popcorn for the cornmeal. Have I told you how much I love my WonderMill lately? The consistency was light and fluffy and the flavor was great. They were SO delicious, especially with honey drizzled over the top. My kids ate 3 pancakes each!

Food Storage Recipes: Buttermilk Cornbread

In doing our research to prepare the page for BabyStep 5: Grains, we realized that there were several grains on the long term food storage list (see BabyStep 4) that we didn’t really know how to use. We decided to try to find good recipes for those ingredients before we actually start purchasing them. Jodi found this cornbread recipe and tried it for Sunday dinner and loved it so much we decided to post it for you so you can start to get excited about your grains too!

photo (40)

Buttermilk Cornbread

Serving Size: 9 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs (or 2 T. powdered eggs 1/4 C. Water)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I make my own with 1 T. lemon juice per 1 cup milk)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal (fresh ground makes this even more DELICIOUS!)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (works just fine with whole wheat too)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine melted butter and white sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Jodi’s Comments:

This was sooooooo delicious! My kids started calling it corn cake and ate two helpings each. Much better than a cornbread mix and a great way to rotate through your food storage cornmeal. Only took 5 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook! To make it even yummier, you can grind popcorn into fresh cornmeal using your wheat grinder.

Recipe found on allrecipes.com