Cornmeal: The All-Around Flour

Cornmeal is coarse or ground flour made from dried corn. It is a common staple food for humans all over the world. It is ground either coarse, medium, or fine, but not as fine as wheat flour. A versatile ingredient, cornmeal has endless applications for both sweet and savory dishes. 

History Of Cornmeal

The earliest cornmeal remains have been found in Puebla, Mexico, dating back 5500 years ago. Cornmeal is and was a staple food for native Americans; it has a ritual, nutritional and religious significance. Native Americans had already been planting, harvesting, processing, and eating corn for thousands of years by the time English colonists arrived. Foodstuffs such as “Indian Pudding” or “Indian Bread” were given these names as Europeans initially recognized corn as a native American ingredient. 

Image Credit: Flickr user grongarCC BY 2.0 )

Appearance Of Cornmeal

Most cornmeal is yellow or white in color and crushed using steel rollers that help give the cornmeal a uniform texture. The distance between the steel rollers dictates how finely ground the cornmeal will be.

Flavor Of Cornmeal

Cornmeal is usually slightly sweet in flavor with a subdued corn flavor. Cornmeal is fairly neutral in flavor, making the ideal ingredient for both sweet and savory recipes. The main difference between cornmeal types is the size of the grain, which impacts the overall texture of the finished dish. 

Culinary Benefits Of Cornmeal

Cornmeal is easy to utilize. Cornmeal can be used to make pancakes, cakes, grilled polenta, cheesy grits, or cornbread; the list goes on and on. 

We have a few cornbread recipes that we love. Our Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread is packed with savory cheddar and spicy jalapenos, perfect for any barbecue. Looking for a gluten free version? This recipe uses corn kernels and cornmeal for corn in every bite.  

Northern Italy is known for its rich and creamy polenta recipes. This Polenta with Mushrooms recipe is flavored with parmesan cheese and topped with an array of mushrooms for textural contrast. Our other polenta recipe with slow cooked cherry tomatoes is bursting with bright flavor that the whole family will love. Feeling more meaty? Our recipe for slow cooked polenta with pork belly is a decadent treat. 

Storage Of Cornmeal

You can keep your cornmeal in an airtight container in your pantry for about a year. You can also refrigerate it in a zip lock bag for 18 months or freeze it for up to 24 months. 

Feature Image: BARBARA808 from Pixabay 

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