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Old 27-09-2012, 13:42   #1
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Many Questions About Cornmeal, etc

Can anyone share experiences about the shelf life of ground corn products ranging from masa harina to cornmeal, polenta and stone-ground grits? We grind wheat fresh just before using on the assumption that its fat content would go rancid if left unrefrigerated for too long. However, I buy ground corn products. Should I buy dried corn and grind it? How about making flour out of popcorn? Or are these questions just too corny?
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Old 27-09-2012, 13:54   #2
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There are many different kinds of corn- popcorn is not the same as flour corn, which is not the same as sweet corn. Furthermore, masa harina is treated differently than corn flour. These differences are great enough that in countries known for their corn production and consumption, corn meal can be difficult to find, just as in the US, with its vast corn industry, most masa harina is imported.
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Old 27-09-2012, 23:44   #3
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

We found it darn near impossible to find corn meal in the South Pacific or SE Asia. Masa harina is not to be found outside the USA, Central America and parts of South America. For corn meal substitute we bought dry polenta.

FWIW, I have vacuum sealed white bread flour and it lasts 3 to 4 years. All-purpose flour should not be vacuum sealed because it causes hard clumps that cannot be sifted out. We do not eat any whole grain breads because my husband has Crohn's Disease and must avoid all fiber. I would suspect that whole grain flours would not last nearly so long as white flours because the whole grain flours contain the fats from the bran and germ of the wheat, whereas the white flour contains only the endosperm and thus is fat-free.

Corn meal can also be vacuum sealed but I have no personal experience with the shelf life after sealed because it has always be used within 6 months on our boat.

Judy
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Old 28-09-2012, 04:08   #4
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

I had one bag of dry polenta in the its original plastic packaging hide on the boat for 4 years. Then it lived in the kitchen for another 6 months. It still tasted perfectly good when I cooked it... but then I do not have Italian blood in me
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Old 28-09-2012, 05:04   #5
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

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Originally Posted by JanetGroene View Post
Can anyone share experiences about the shelf life of ground corn products ranging from masa harina to cornmeal, polenta and stone-ground grits? We grind wheat fresh just before using on the assumption that its fat content would go rancid if left unrefrigerated for too long. However, I buy ground corn products. Should I buy dried corn and grind it? How about making flour out of popcorn? Or are these questions just too corny?
maize,or corn as it is called in the us,has been cultivated by man for around 60-70,000 years,since we evolved into farmers from hunter -gatherers.
it originates from a savanna grass,hence its ability to survive in arid conditions,due to its hardy,extensive root system and stem.
the migration of early man( homo sapians) from africa brought it to the world.

white maize is a staple in most of sub-saharan africa,and is traditionally stored in raised granaries,keeping it dry and rodent free for many years.

traditionally it is either eaten fresh on the cob after being roasted on a fire,or dried,then seperated from the cob,and either stored or pounded to make a flour that is added to boiling water to make a stiff porridge.

ugali,mealie pap,putu, or maize porridge as it is commonly known in africa is a great addition to a barbeque.

when i make it,using white maize flour i boil the water using a 2 cups water,1 of flour mix,(about half a cup flour per person),add plenty of salt,some olive oil or butter,an onion chopped fine,add the flour then stir on a low heat till it has a smooth consistency,i then add a bit more flour to get a stiff consistency,give it another 10 minutes on a low heat,cover,then let it stand till ready to serve.

served with a thick tomato and onion sauce.
2 tins chopped tomatoes,2 onions sauted in olive oil,add tomatoes once onions browned,salt and pepper,dash of paprica,half cup of water,allow to thicken.

fantastic with lamb chops,spicy sausage,steak or chicken from the bbq .
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Old 28-09-2012, 16:38   #6
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

I grind my own corn meal. The most common corn used is Number 2 Yellow Dent, commonly known as field corn, or livestock feed corn here in the USA. I will warn you, most of it grown in the US is GMO, and I stay away from that. I buy organic corn from my local organic feed store. There are better varieties for using to make corn meal, however I have never found a commercial source for them. If you are sailing the Chesapeake in the fall, there is a farmer up the Potomac River near Colonial Beach who grows organic corn. Another one is on the Rappahannock River below Fredericsburg (bridge height of 50'). I have never been able to buy corn meal in a store which is worth eating, so I grind my own. Also, you can make hominey with corn too.

What kind of mill do you use to grind your flour?
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Old 28-09-2012, 17:29   #7
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

We haven't been successful with stockpiling any grain or nut products. If you are in a hot place, they all end up with weevils. I guess weevil eggs are already in the stuff when you buy it. I am not sure what the solution is.
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Old 28-09-2012, 17:32   #8
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

To keep weevils out of grain, place grain in a sealed plastic bag, tying it works fine, and then freeze for a week. As long as you keep the grain sealed after freezing, you shouldn't have a problem with weevils.
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Old 28-09-2012, 17:38   #9
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

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We haven't been successful with stockpiling any grain or nut products. If you are in a hot place, they all end up with weevils. I guess weevil eggs are already in the stuff when you buy it. I am not sure what the solution is.
try adding a bay leaf in an air tight container,freezing helps as well
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Old 28-09-2012, 17:56   #10
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

Not quiet on subject, but somewhat relevant, about longevity of food items.

I just cleaned out my freezer at home. In the bottom was a garbage bag, I had forgot about, in which I thought there was some deer meat scraps I was going to make sausage out of.

What a shock when I looked in it and saw butcher paper. Wrapped meat... and the date.

1997. Fifeteen flippin' years ago!

So in the garbage it goes? Not in your life! I pride myself in butchering my own deer, and wrapping it better than butchers. NO freezer burn, absoltuely none, and no deterioration in palatablilty. In fact I am eating a stir fry with it as we speak. I'm glad, because I truly hate wasting food, especially something I harvested myself.

This is just a testomony as to how long foods can be kept, if they are properly stored. Of course, on a sailboat, freezers are not omnipresent, nor large. But other methods work so well. I've had beans I dried from my garden that were perfectly good after a decade. (I know, I need to sort my food quicker... lol.)
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:47   #11
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

You can buy semolina in SE Asia very easily. It comes in gorgeous red and gold tins, they make me smile just seeing them. I use this in place of cornmeal, and I make polenta out of it. Not quite correct and, no doubt my Italian family are weeping as i write.

I find that if you pack your flour into an airtight container, pack it in really tight - put the lid on, bash the container to pack the flour down and keep doing this till there is no way you can add more and pop a few bay leaves in along the way that keeps weevils at bay.

An alternative is using chloroform. You put a tiny amount onto a cotton bud and drop it into your rice or flour container. Seal the container and leave overnight, then remove the cotton bud. I personally haven't tried this, but several friends have and they say it works brilliantly. There may be health issues with this!
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:43   #12
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

I have not been able to find outside of the U.S. corn meal like I like it, which is either self-rising Martha White or coarse stone ground whole grain. I bring it from the U.S. and it seems to keep forever with no special storage techniques.

In a pinch, polenta works o.k., but it's still not exactly the same thing.

I store cornmeal -- after opening -- in one of those simple plastic Tupperware type containers; never had any problem with weevils.

Interestingly, in Georgia (Soviet Georgia, not the U.S. state), they cook with cornmeal quite like what I grew up with. They have a kind of unleavened corn pone they call "Chadi" which is absolutely delicious. They also eat cheese grits -- "Elardzhi" -- yummm! I don't know where they get their freshly ground whole grain white corn meal, but it's almost exactly like what we used to have back home. Otherwise in Europe you can hardly find anything other than that nasty, dried out yellow stuff.
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:01   #13
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

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I have not been able to find outside of the U.S. corn meal like I like it, which is either self-rising Martha White or coarse stone ground whole grain. I bring it from the U.S. and it seems to keep forever with no special storage techniques.

In a pinch, polenta works o.k., but it's still not exactly the same thing.

I store cornmeal -- after opening -- in one of those simple plastic Tupperware type containers; never had any problem with weevils.

Interestingly, in Georgia (Soviet Georgia, not the U.S. state), they cook with cornmeal quite like what I grew up with. They have a kind of unleavened corn pone they call "Chadi" which is absolutely delicious. They also eat cheese grits -- "Elardzhi" -- yummm! I don't know where they get their freshly ground whole grain white corn meal, but it's almost exactly like what we used to have back home. Otherwise in Europe you can hardly find anything other than that nasty, dried out yellow stuff.
recently i have been able to buy it in asda,in the indian food section,also any shop specialising in south african food will have white maize in the uk.
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:06   #14
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

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recently i have been able to buy it in asda,in the indian food section,also any shop specialising in south african food will have white maize in the uk.
Thanks for the tip -- I'll give that a try . . .

Now if I could only find buttermilk . . .

It's no problem in the Eastern Med or in Eastern Europe -- they call it Kefir there. But in the UK it has been totally impossible to find, and not even anything close. The only fermented milk product you guys eat is yoghurt.

I don't know how people bake without buttermilk/kefir . . .

Or what you drink for your hangovers . . .
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:13   #15
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Re: Many questions about Cornmeal, etc

Try doing a search, I think I recall seeing somewhere how to make your own buttermilk
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