Processing parched corn into Hominy

By Paul DeMain

Many workshops offered during the recent Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Food Summits of 2016 at Red Lake, Minnesota, Madison and Camp Jijak in 2016 and 2017 have involved the gathering/harvesting of resources and their processing of some of these foods into Value Added Products (VAP) for storage, future, or a diversity of uses in their new condition. Some products gathered are always used on site in order to facilitate sharing of traditional food preparations and ancient or contemporary recipes.

Amongst those products include what the Ojibwe called Mandamin (The Great Seed) or corn and for which there has been some 350+ varieties amongst tribes identified so far. May varieties of Indian corn have been lost —  to history, maybe Mansanto, or caches that are yet to be found. A good example might be the White Flint Corn described as growing on Madeline Island, in Lake Superior — also know as the former capital of the Ojibwe Nation, a variety of corn that is described as growing there in the 1700s.  While it is possible, and probably likely, that the White Flint grown there is related to other northern Wisconsin, Great Lakes or Island flints that are well known, (Like Bear Island White Flint) and could be connected genetically to the Madeline Island gardens, to date there has not been a Madeline Island White Flint Corn seed, or seed cache identified in seed repositories, museums or private collections.

Jijak_#1George_Cooking_HominyLac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe elder George Martin, assisted by Buddy Raphael (not shown) discuss the boiling process for making parched corn into hominy. Raphael says he likes to let his corn dry for over a year before using it for cooking and other needs.

After the parched corn is boiled in an alkaline solution for a lengthy time period, in this case hardwood ashes and for some tribes maple ashes in particular rather then lye, lime or baking soda, the corn is then transported to a screen for further cleaning. By now, a thin outer shell and little seed connection nub should come off easily from the corn kernel when rubbed between two fingers. The boiling in ash, or lime process changes the chemistry of the corn, contributes calcium, potassium and trace minerals to the corn and makes it more nutritious while at the same time loosening a thin outer shell casing from the kernel.

Jijak_Hauling_Hominy#3

The cooked corn is transported to a screen for further cleaning, drying and discussions with Camp Jijak participants.

The Oneida’s of Wisconsin hand pick and dehydrate much of their white flint corn and then prepare it in this similar manner and in some cases they will boil it again for grinding and making corn meal while adding kidney beans and making small round loafs to refrigerate for storage. Hopi people of the Southwest used ground blue corn mixed with small amounts of willow wood ash to prepare piki, a thin, crepe-like, blue bread. A porridge made from hominy in the south is called grits. Many tribes had their own technique for preparing their corn for future storage and seed keepers have identified over 300 varieties of corn grown historically in Indian Country with some sweet varieties not suitable for making hominy.

Jijak#4_Participants_WashingCorn

Below: Buddy Raphael provides some traditional teachings and advice for making corn hominy.

Jijak_#5Buddy_Hosing_Hominy

For more information on programs provided by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) you can go on the net here:  IAC

Other Youtube videos from Camp Jijak.

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Sapping, syrup and sugar – Jijak 2017

60lb.packssugar

Maple sugar used to be packaged in 65lb mukuks, or birchbark baskets by the Ojibwe Anishinabeg of the Great Lakes.  65lbs of maple = about 8.1 gallons of syrup. You can learn a lot more about historic and contemporary sapping, making maple syrup or sugar and the kinds of trees you can tap at this years Great Lakes Food Summit coming up April 19-23rd, 2017 in Hopkins, Michigan.

Summit Updates – Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit

Early Bird registration has opened! Click the button below to get your discounted tickets. Prices will increase March 20th, 2015. Hands-on sessions are offered as separate tickets (no fee) and are only available to registered conference attendees.

Vendors, please click “Buy Tickets” to reserve your table space. We are offering a limited number of spaces because registration is capped at 150 attendees.

Eventbrite - Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit

We invite you to join us on our planning call tomorrow to discuss topics, speakers, and format of the conference. Call in at 2pm CST to (eight six six) 614-2162 – Access code: 987- one one four – 7244.

If you’re not able to join us, or would like to preview the draft schedule, please take a look at the link below. Keep in mind this is a working draft, and changes should be expected.

GLIFS agenda DRAFT

Fruit Tree Grants – Check it Out!

fruit tree

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) is an award-winning international nonprofit charity dedicated to planting fruitful trees and plants to alleviate world hunger, combat global warming, strengthen communities, and improve the surrounding air, soil, and water. FTPF programs strategically donate orchards where the harvest will best serve communities for generations, at places such as community gardens, public schools, city/state parks, low-income neighborhoods, Native American reservations, international hunger relief sites, and animal sanctuaries.

Recipients must be nonprofits, public schools, or government entities that 1) own the planting site (or have long-term arrangements to remain at the planting site), 2) are committed to caring for the trees in perpetuity, 3) have a source of irrigation nearby, 4) and can help coordinate local volunteers to join on the day of planting.

In addition, the “Fruit Tree 101” program creates outdoor edible orchard classrooms at public schools of all levels, across the country, to provide generations of students with environmental education opportunities and a source of organic fruit for improved school lunch nutrition.

FTPF ideally seeks schools that can accommodate at least 20-25 trees on school grounds.

Deadline: Rolling

Please contact The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation for more information and to apply for this funding.

Business Seminars in Wisconsin

A series of business seminars will be held across Wisconsin in early December.  Here is the full announcement from the event website where you can register for $15:

“Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons and Courtney Berner from the UW Center for Cooperatives will address the legal issues involved with starting and running your own food or farm business in an interactive setting. Through the duration of the workshop, you will learn basic legal principles of business entities and employment, recognize potential legal issues in forming a business and hiring employees, discuss insights and opinions on forming a business and hiring employees, and create draft legal provisions for an operating agreement agenda.”