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What Is Corn Meal?

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  • Written By: Glyn Sinclair
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Corn, sometimes known as maize, is a grain that is believed to have first been cultivated in prehistoric times. It has subsequently become a food staple across the globe and can be found on every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Corn meal is produced by grinding up dried corn into a powder form and can be mixed with water and other ingredients to make porridge, tacos, cornbread and enchiladas. The color of corn meal is typically yellow or white based on what type of corn is being used. Corn meal is often used to make hot morning cereals with nuts and fruit stirred into the mixture.

Most grocery stores sell corn meal that is already ground. Depending on the dish being prepared, it can be fine, medium or coarsely ground. The corn can also be ground using a blender or corn mill and is a relatively simple procedure for those wishing to attempt it on their own. A bag of prepackaged corn kernels should suffice, and it is recommended to check for any loose bits of debris or small stones before grinding. A pestle and mortar may also be used to grind the corn.

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Corn meal is sometimes used as a substitute to flour when making tortillas. When used for cooking it can have a number of health benefits. Some of these can include help with lowering high blood pressure and prevention of conditions such as hemorrhoids. It is also high in certain minerals and vitamins as well as antioxidants. It has high fiber content and as such is also thought to be of benefit to the cardiovascular system.

There are many uses and recipes for corn meal around the world, from bread in India to corn chips and breading for fish in the United States. It is also employed in the production of grain alcohol. In Caribbean countries the substance is used to make a type of thick pudding called funchi.

Another byproduct of corn is corn gluten meal. This substance is typically used as an organic alternative to chemical herbicides, and feed for animals. It is also one of the ingredients in dog and cat food but care should be taken as cats and dogs are known to sometimes develop allergies to the corn. Corn meal can also be used as a non-toxic anti fungal spray for plants when it is mixed with water. Other uses for the substance include treating athlete’s foot and ringworm.

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kylee07drg
Post 4

My grandmother's hushpuppy recipe is one of my favorite corn meal recipes. I love these little fried balls, and they go so well with shrimp and several types of fish.

She just uses equal parts corn meal and flour, along with a couple of eggs, some onion bits, and a dash of sugar. She mixes this all up and forms it into balls, which she drops into hot oil to fry.

The corn meal makes the hushpuppies resemble corn bread a little. They definitely have a flavor all their own, though. I can hardly bear to eat seafood without them, now that I have been spoiled!

shell4life
Post 3

@lighth0se33 – A lot of people use regular flour as breading for their meat, but corn meal breading is the best kind when you are making fish. You can either bake it or fry it, but the corn meal will always add crispiness and texture.

Most people and restaurants around here use corn meal when breading their catfish. That gives it its signature grainy exterior and slight crunchiness.

My mother dips the catfish in egg and then rolls it in corn meal before putting it in the deep fryer with oil. It doesn't sound very healthy, but it is delicious!

lighth0se33
Post 2

I use corn meal like flour sometimes. It is great for sprinkling into a greased pan to prevent things from sticking to it, just like flour is.

Whenever I make pizza, I grease the pan with shortening. Then, I sprinkle it with corn meal, and the pizza doesn't stick.

Also, once I have wet the pizza dough, if it is too sticky to handle, I will sprinkle it with corn meal, too. This makes rolling it into a ball easier, and it makes it even less likely to adhere to the pan. That also makes washing dishes a breeze!

cloudel
Post 1

I use a corn meal mix when making cornbread. I live in the deep South, and cornbread is eaten at supper almost every day.

We love having it with our green beans, black-eyed peas, and potatoes. It has a rough texture, yet it is still soft in the middle somehow.

Sometimes, I buy a sweetened corn meal mix that requires me to add one egg and some water before pouring it into the pan. Other times, I will use my own corn meal and get a savory cornbread instead. Either way, it is delicious with boiled vegetables.

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