Dried Corn Made with LoveSep 01, 2023
An old family recipe of dehydrating and rehydrating, steeped in cross-cultural traditions and memories
Dried corn takes on a completely different flavor and texture — one that is surprisingly nutty in taste. It is a wonderful way to harvest seasonal corn and store it to serve up for holidays and special occasions. You’ll want to savor it — it’s that good! Farmers have been doing this for centuries, in fact, this recipe comes from a customer’s grandmother who lived on a farm and dried her corn hanging in kitchen curtains.
Dehydrating is another way of preserving food and tradition — a way to store farm-fresh produce. This recipe makes a wonderful side dish that accompanies myriad meals — but be forewarned, it will have people clamoring for more!
*Note that this original recipe is not vegan, however, I have made suggestions for replacements to ‘veganese’ it. I wanted to respect the integrity of its origins.
1 cup of dried corn serves 4-5 people
- 10 ears of fresh corn (ideally from your local farmer) to yield a quart of dried corn
- ¼ cup of heavy cream (substitute with soy, oat or any other nut milk)
- 4 Tbsp of butter (substitute with Earth Balance vegan butter)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A dash of grated fresh nutmeg
- Baking sheet
- Mason Jar
Directions for drying corn:
- Shuck the corn cobs (the best corn is available late in the season August to September)
- With a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cobs and place in a bowl
- Spread the kernels of approximately 5-6 cobs on a baking sheet (don’t overcrowd or layer)
- Place in oven at the lowest heat setting and allow the drying process to unfold. (Note: This will take approximately 4-5 hours)
- After the first 2 hours, stir up the corn; you will begin to notice a color change occurring
- When completed, remove from oven and allow to cool down in a bowl. Once the kernels (which will now be dehydrated and hard) are cool, please in a mason jar and seal. Note: it will take 10 cobs to fill a 1-quart jar of dried corn
Note: The corn will continue to change color over time. It may get darker, but don’t worry — it lasts for years.
Directions for cooking dried corn:
- Place corn in a saucepan and cover with water
- Bring the water to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for approximately 1 hour
- Drain out ½ the water, save the other ½ with the corn in the pan
- Add heavy cream, a couple of teaspoons of butter, salt and pepper to taste and a dash of fresh grated nutmeg
- Serve in a small bowl, retaining the liquid (with all the yummy flavors)
Whether used as a yummy side dish for a meal or not, consider adding this to hearty autumn soups as well.
This recipe is definitely a labor of love. The preparation can be quite meditative. As you shuck ears of corn and cut the kernels from the cobs, you will be connected to the sustainable customs of many who came before you. Just like my customer, for whom the ritual brings her back to her Grandmother’s kitchen and family table. This is the power of whole food.
And may this inspire you to consider what other seasonal foods you can dehydrate and preserve while there is an abundance of ripe fruits and veggies ripe for the picking. Consider dehydrating fruit chips for snacks (great for back-to-school lunch boxes).
*A special thanks to Kara, a chef and a lover of family traditions and delicious foods. These pictures come straight from her kitchen while she prepped for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to come.
—Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Cafe Woodstock