The Cherrytree Family




Receipt for Parched Corn

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In the 18th century, parched corn was one of the most important trail foods.  It was made by first hanging the fresh corn cobs in the top of your cabin until they thoroughly dried, and then a small amount put in a skillet or spider with some bacon.  The bacon grease would keep the corn from sticking and the heat would make the small kernels of dried corn swell up and turn brown.  Parched corn is the swollen and browned kernels.  Parched corn is a lot easier to digest than dried corn, and it's not as hard on your teeth either.  If you can't get fresh corn on the cob (or don't want to because of the price), and don't want to explain to your family with you have corn hanging from the ceiling, then just go buy frozen whole kernel corn at the grocery store.  If you have a dehydrator that will simplify drying the corn, but if not you can spread the corn out on cookie tins and set your oven to 150 degrees and leave the door cracked an inch or so.  It will take eight (8) hours or more to dry, just be sure to check on it every thirty minutes or so.  Once you get it fully dehydrated, then it's time to get out your favorite skillet and oil or grease.  Almost any kind of oil or grease works, just heat the skillet on a low heat and oil the skillet.  Once the skillet has gotten hot take a rag (or paper towel) and spread the oil around wiping up all but just a thin coat.  If you choose to go modern, PAM spray works very good for this.  Then you should pour a little of the dried corn, you should have not quite enough corn to coat the bottom of the skillet.  You have to constantly stir the corn around so it won't burn. It takes less than a minute to parch the corn.  When swells up and turns a light to medium brown colour, it is ready.  Dump the corn out onto a plate that has some cloth (or some paper towels) on it to soak up any of the oil/grease that might be left on the corn, then re-oil your skillet and do some more.  If you are doing it right it will take several skillets full to make a weekend's ration but you won't end up burning any of it.  I use sweet corn when I make mine, and I don't add anything to the corn, but you could add in your favorite nuts, dried fruits or berries, or even some sugar to make your daily ration more interesting.


Another Receipt for Parched Corn

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Lightly grease a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.  At a moderate heat, add a thin layer of dry corn.  Continue heating until the corn "pops".  At that point it is done, and should be removed from the heat.  Once you have a quantity parched, grind it into a coarse flour.  One variety of corn to try is known as "Mandan Red".  It has a rather pleasant flavor, almost slightly sweet.  In use, you can mix this in stew or soup, or throw a couple spoonfuls in hot water and drink it.





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