Corn originates from the area of modern Mexico, where it has been known for 7000 years, and has been brought to Europe in the 16th century by the Spanish. It is the 3rd most wide-spread, right after rice and wheat. Cornmeal or polenta is made the same way as corn flour, with the grinding of corn. A bit less know is white corn.
Polenta or cornmeal
We get polenta or cornmeal with the grinding of yellow corn and it is the transit state between the corn seed and flour. In the old days polenta was considered a farmers dish, but nowadays it is often on the menus of highly acclaimed restaurants.
The preparation of polenta is very simple, it can either be prepared sweet or salty. Contrary to instant polenta we have to cook it quite a long time. But “the real one” has the advantage of a somewhat better nutritional value, taste and aroma.
We slowly put cornmeal into boiling water, which has been salted beforehand. We cook it for about 20 minutes at a constant stirring, to prevent clumps from forming.
It is most commonly served as a side dish to goulash, milk and various sauces.
We can also prepare a healthy polenta pizza out of it. It can be baked in the oven or we can use the cornmeal as an addition when baking biscuits or cakes.
The advantage of polenta is that it can easily be kept for some days in the refrigerator, and then just lightly baked or warmed up before eating.
Corn flour is gotten by grinding yellow corn.
It is excellent for baking cornbread, or as an addition to other flours. Otherwise the bread is to compact and crumbly, because it does not contain gluten.
Corn flour is slightly sweet and is therefore a good for various sweets, biscuits or pancakes. Corn flour is also great for making spoon bread and dumplings.
There are many kinds of corn – a bit less know is the white kind, which is know mainly in Littoral Slovenia. It does not contain carotenoids, which separates it from other kinds.
We slowly grind the corn seeds into flour or cornmeal with the slow friction of two stones. With such a procedure all of the nutrients, aroma and the rich flavour which the white corn offers are contained.
Polenta from white corn
White polenta is a cornmeal, grinded out of white corn, which has a milder taste than the better know polenta out of yellow corn.
White polenta is prepared exactly the same way as the yellow one. It goes well with various dishes, with all sorts of meat, fish, rice and vegetable.
Diversify your menu and cook yourself white polenta instead of potatoes or pasta.
Did you know?
- Usually it is so that food loses some of it nutritional value with thermal treatment, but that does not hold true for corn.
- Corn does not contain all of the essential amino acids, therefore it is recommended to combine it with legumes.
- Usually white polenta and white corn were considered food of the city dwellers. Yellow corn was meant for the lower classes and for livestock.
- It does not contain gluten, which makes it suitable for those ailing with coeliac disease.
In order to preserve all the quality nutrients in the flour, groats and porridge, and to extend its expiration date, proper storage is of utmost importance. Flour can be stored without a problem in the refrigerator, especially if we only use it from time to time or in the summer months. We usually store it in a well closed container in a cool and dry space.
To further prevent insects from infesting it we can put a laurel leaf into the closet or directly into the bag.