Monday, September 21, 2009


Pennsylvania is happily drowning in corn this year. Having enjoyed dried corn in my communal days in the 70's, I thought I'd revisit the experience. We rented the farm from an old time farmer. He had extra, and let us pick. And pick we did (this year, I bought. $20 for 5 dozen ears). OK...not free, but it's local. I'm all grown up and things aren't free anymore, but that's as it should be. Ferris Patt knew all about that, in 1975, when we were hungry kids. Good man.
The corn must be cleaned; removed from the husk, silk rinsed free, and drained. Eat some, because you'll be working through dinner.
You cut the kernels free of the cob. (The horses and goats love the cast-off cobs and greens.) If you cut them into a bowl or a pan they are easier to corral.
This is the magical piece of equipment: the drier. It's a galvanized metal box, which you fill with water (see the steam at the left) . The water boils, and heats the surface. On the surface, the corn is heated. It dries at a constant temperature. All you have to do is turn it occasionally. I first found this invention at the farm. Mine came from an antique mart; $20. Or make your own.
Dried corn: it's the best corn you'll ever eat apart from that one great sweet bite from the cob at the peak of summer. John Cope, eat your heart out. And you'll have it until next spring. You can't beat it. When you go to cook it, you'll need to treat it like a dried bean or grain...water, heat, and time. But this corn is so sweet and flavorful that it will take little else to make a dish. Or add a handful to soups or stews. It's the BEST.

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