- Food and Cooking
Cornmeal a wonder product
Jamaica has a traditional dish referred to as cornmeal pudding. One would wonder if Jamaica grows enough corn to mill its own corn meal, the answer is no. Though Jamaica grows corn it does not cultivate enough to make its own cornmeal. It relies on the United States of America to send corn to be milled or the cornmeal is acquired already milled. Flour that is extracted from the product is called corn flour or cornstarch widely used in desserts. Cornmeal is a staple food for many third world countries as it provides a long lasting source of energy while it actually provides part of the daily protein requirement.
How do we get cornmeal: Dried whole grain corn is crushed between millstones leaving a coarse texture dried ground or stone ground cornmeal with the nutrient packed germ still attached. There are different grades and color of the product .
Steel ground: This Is a yellow cornmeal mostly common in the United States and has the husk and germ of the maize kernel almost completely removed. It is preserved almost indefinitely if stored in bran new airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Stone ground : This cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ giving a little more flavor and nutrients to recipes. It is more perishable but will store longer if refrigerated. However it too can have a fairly long shelf life for many months if kept in a reasonably cool place.
White cornmeal: Is more traditional in Africa and is also popular in the Southern United States for making cornbread and corn cakes.
Blue cornmeal : This is made from the rarer blue corn or by adding blue food color. Australia seems to have a much coarser cornmeal than the USA. They call it polenta which is widely known as a cereal. It has many other functions.
It is used as a method of controlling the germination of seeds by protecting them from good or bad weeds. This is made possible because cornmeal attracts ants and ants devour seeds .Horticultural cornmeal is an organic product that helps control root and soil related fungal problems. The way it works is, it actually feeds plant friendly fungi like Trichoderma, which is a natural enemy of other bad fungi such as Rhizoctonia and Scelrotina .It can be used to keep away weeds in areas that are used to grow mature plants that cannot be destroyed by ants.
In the U.S.A .there are many famous recipes made from the product such as grits, cornbread, hominy, mush, Johnny cake, hush puppy and corn dog. In Panama there is the famous tamale dish of highly spiced chicken cooked in seasoned turned cornmeal wrapped and tied in greased paper.
In Trinidad there is the Fufu which is seasoned turned cornmeal cooked with okra and coconut milk served with flying fish. In Jamaica you will hear of festival, cornmeal pudding, blue draws. Cornmeal porridge and cornmeal dumpling, Cornmeal is known to make a very good facial and body scrub and if you are willing to spend the time brushing out the small residue it is also a very good way of cleaning the hair if you are unable to get it washed.