Flint, dent, flour, sweet, pop and parch - let's geek out about corn

I've been reading Carol Deppe's book The Resilient Gardener and now I'm suddenly enamoured with corn. Deppe has wonderful information on how to grow different kinds of corn, and some rather amazing recipes on how to use them. And here I was thinking there is just two kinds - cow and sweet.

Now I want to know all about corn from a culinary point of view. What is it like in the kitchen? What do you look for when you buy xyz to make zyx? What's your favourite kind of corn to work with? Were you just like me and had no idea there were so many kinds, and each kind had specific uses?

Here's an overview of some of the different kinds that Deppe mentions in her book:

Flint - A hard corn, good for using in polenta, some cornbreads, it's your basic cornmeal corn. Flint tastes best when boiled/cooked on the hob. Used dry.

Flour - this is mills up to a soft flower, excellent apparently, for substituting in gluten free recipes with very mild modification. Tastes best when baked. Great for breads and possibly pancakes. Deppe also has a recipe for sponge cake that uses only corn flour from flour corn and looks fantastic. Used dry.

Dent - Basically half flint, half flour, has the characteristics of both. Deppe says they need to be both boiled and baked to taste good. Used dry.

Sweet - Yummy fresh sweet corn, if fresh it tastes great raw, otherwise boil as corn on the cob. Can also be dried and cooks added to soups. I wonder, how else do you use your fresh sweet corn? Mostly used fresh.

Pop and parch corn - Pop corn we all know, but there is also parching corn which is usually red or purple coloured, and you can parch them in a fry pan or microwave with no oil at all. I never tried parching corn, but apparently it's amazing. Used dry.

I know I've missed something out, but it's enough to get us talking about corn. Fresh, dry, flour, meal, popped and parched, which is your favourite?



trampledbygeese March 31, 2015
Wow, what wonderful answers. I could never imagine such a variety of corn dishes. Smoked corn cob stock - genious!

I'm having a hard time waiting for corn season now.

But at least I can buy dry corn.

Tell me, when making something from dry corn, do you care if it's dent, flint, parch, flour, or whatever? Polenta people, is there a special type of cornmeal that you prefer?
Pegeen March 30, 2015
trampledbygeese, we can always count on you for some fun "deep dives"! I myself am addicted to corn on the cob, butter, salt in the summer. Mexican corn on the cob too.
Meaghan F. March 30, 2015
I read an article in the NYT ("Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food") a year or two ago that explored just how different today's produce, including "sweet corn," is from the same produce our ancestors are... The amount of sugar present in sweet corn has SKYROCKETED since then due to selective breeding since colonial times and, since the 1960s, lab-based genetic modification. Today, most corn sold in the US is actually known as "extra sweet" with some varieties approaching 40% sugar by volume. I very highly recommend Googling the article for more info corn in particular and food nutrition in general.
arcane54 March 30, 2015
Fresh, sweet (but not too sweet) minutes from picking and cooked just until tender, slathered with butte and a bit of salt. Polenta -- soft, fried, grilled. My recent favorite (last summer at the peak of corn season -- which is short here) -- sweet corn panna cotta with a fresh berry coulis. Naha in Chicago serves a lovely sweet corn soup that is silky smooth and topped with one perfect grilled scallop and an herby green drizzle. Can't wait for summer!
arcane54 March 30, 2015
Nancy March 29, 2015
If you don't yet know it, see Much Depends on Dinner, where Margaret Visser tracks the history of corn in America's diet (1 of 6 foods in the classic dinner she discusses).
boulangere March 29, 2015
Once I've stripped the kernels from a cob, I smoke the cobs in my charcoal grill over applewood chips that I've soaked in white wine, then simmer the cobs to make a smoked corn stock.
luvcookbooks March 29, 2015
Love polenta, see genius recipe on this site. Love raw corn salad in the summer, corn soup made w corn cob stock. Also make tea from corn silk. When I was little, we went to a span ferkel (?spelling) every summer w whole roast pig and tons of grilled sweet corn. Outagamie County Republican Party fundraiser in Appleton, Wisconsin if you were wondering. Corn pudding at Thanksgiving. Corn cakes for lunch, my mom's recipe. Arepa w masarepa. Southern cornbread w buttermilk, only a tiny bit of sugar. Italian cornmeal cookies w grappa.
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