Monday, January 13, 2014

"and time passes ..."

That's what my mom would say when the leading lady and man would embrace very very closely and the screen faded to black.

Well, I have no excuse for  not talking to y'all. I hung my corn after I harvested it onto my tailgate, and for lo these many weeks it has dried in my front porch. Last week I took 30 or more cobs of corn off the cob. I carefully segregated deep, steely blue corn and deep winey-red corn, and got about a quart of each. The rest I just call "calico." They're all in big bulky wonderful quart canning jars to keep the mice from harvesting them. Damned mice.

I never thought that you could sort corn by color and be useful about it, since the mammal phenotypes [physical characteristics] can't be sorted that way. But when people I trusted said they "just threw out the yellow kernels," of their Indian corn, I had to know more.

Corn ain't mammals. If you do some research on how corn is pollinated, it makes sense. The short way to tell it is that pollen grains from the tassel of the corn fall onto individual corn silks. Each piece of silk leads to a place on the cob where a kernel can develop. One grain of pollen + one corn silk = one individual kernel. And when you think about all the successful pollination that has to take place to make ONE cob of corn, well that's just pretty cool. All the time I was shelling my corn, I kept thinking of that.

Of course there are drawbacks. One half block away is a field of what we used to call "field corn," and I now call "GMO corn." All the yellow kernels in my corn can be directly attributed the the pollen from that field getting to my corn's silk.

Where I live there are hundreds of thousands of acres of fields of corn. Where there isn't corn, they grow soybeans, and in the small percentage of fields where there isn't either, there may be alfalfa, wheat, or cattle grazing. So where do you plant your corn? It's a question. For anyone trying to raise a particular strain of corn, it's a BIG question.

Am I replanting my "blue" and "red" corn? Yessiree. I'm learning a lot.

Did I eat any of it this year? Well. The season for processing it got away from me and it dried on the stalk. This means I could use it for corn, but it won't be as good as cooked and dried corn will be. I haven't had the guts to try it in food or try to make cornmeal from it. Besides, I had helped a friend pick HER corn and SHE processed it and shared with me. So. Like. I kinda don't need to! Ha!

1 comment:

Lori "The Soil Whisperer" Guenter said...

Cool! I learnt something new today!