Guest Post by The Hungry Hubby:
While vacationing in Williamsburg last year, we took a daytrip to Monticello. After touring the house and gardens we perused the gift ship and were drawn to the seed rack with heirloom varieties of seeds that had been documented as grown by Thomas Jefferson. I am a sap for corn and picked up a packet of Virginia Gourdseed Corn. The description on Monticello’s website states,
“Jefferson grew a dozen varieties of “Indian Corn” in his lifetime, starting in 1774. The “sweet or shriveled” type he planted in 1810 may have been noted in 1705 by Robert Beverly, who described Virginia corn as “a larger grain and looks shriveled with a dent on the back.” Virginia White Gourdseed Corn has tapered, flattened white kernels that mimic those of gourds. Young (milk stage) ears are for tasty “roasting ears” and mature kernels make hominy and finely textured flour. These qualities and the sturdy 10’ stalks were the basis for 19th-century Corn Belt varieties. Plant when soil is 55 degrees, spacing 1’ in rows 3’ apart. Packets contain 40-45 seeds.”
This spring I tried my hand at growing this heirloom here in Charleston, South Carolina where there are more than enough critters to ruin any well intentioned garden project. I only had to use BT several times to take care of some worms that were trying to get a free meal. You can see that there was a little worm damage near the tip of the ears, but nothing to worry about.
I only had room for 17 seeds, got 17 stalks and 17 ears of corn. I let the corn dry on the stalk, pulled it, and put it a milk crate in the garage until I had time to shell it. A few weeks ago I shucked my 17 ears of Gourdseed and shelled it from the cob. To get rid of the chaff, I put the corn in a bowl of water, stirred it around, and skimmed the top of the water. I then put the kernels into the dehydrator for about 4 hours on 125 degrees just to make sure they were dry after washing them.
The result was five pounds of shelled corn which averages out to .29lbs per ear! It is in the freezer right now awaiting being ground into cornmeal in the Vita-Mix and turned into a delicacy fit for a president!
An interesting video about the reintroduction of Carolina Gourdseed Corn can be found on You Tube.
More to follow…
Here our Virginia Gourdseed Corn awaits processing in the Vitamix.
Below is our homegrown and processed cornmeal.
The final product. To see a delicious recipe for cornbread using our cornmeal, please see the Cornbread and Collard Greens recipe!