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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

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Jackie Clay

Q and A: growing corn for cornmeal and layering jars in canner

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Growing corn for cornmeal

I am growing dent corn to make corn meal. I am not sure when to harvest and how to prepare the corn for grinding.

Daniel Jones
Cullowhee, North Carolina

Leave the ears on the stalks until the husks are golden and rustle like paper. The corn itself will be hard and dented. At this point, pick the ears and move them in to an area protected against birds and rodents. Be sure to give them air to further dry, if necessary. Then shell the ears by either using a hand-cranked sheller or by hand. I use my thumb to work the kernels off the cob or you can rub two cobs together over a bucket. If you have trouble with maize moths or pantry moths, freeze your shelled corn for a week. Then you can grind your corn for cornmeal. Whole cornmeal contains the germ so will go rancid faster than store bought cornmeal does so either freeze the cornmeal or else grind a few pounds at a time so you’ll use it before it goes rancid. — Jackie

Layering jars in canner

Can you water bath two layers of jars with a rack in between as you do in pressure canning? I was thinking jam in half-pint jars.

Donna Herlihy
Wentworth, New Hampshire

Yes, you can but you don’t often have that many jars of jam at a single time. You shouldn’t double or triple your batches of jam because often it will not set. — Jackie

4 Responses to “Q and A: growing corn for cornmeal and layering jars in canner”

  1. Franci Osborne Says:

    Glad your knee is better.
    re: double batches of jam/jelly: I am a lazy canner and almost always make a double or triple batch of jam/jelly. Don’t follow the instructions on the Sure-Jell label except for the amount of sugar/fruit/pectin and the order of mixing. Never have any problem with it not setting up. Just cook it until it sheets from the spoon. Experience tells me when its ready. Following the directions as to time etc. I have had problems. Jelly always tastes good.

  2. Nancy Says:

    I can my jam in my pressure canner with a rack and double stack all the time. Unless my pectin is old it always processes and is very good. Don’t do much any more as the only child of 6 at is near, his wife is not inclined to eat home canned food. Don’t know why. I take to Vermont, Colorado, Tennessee and california when we go visit the other five children and grand children. They enjoy it.

  3. Nancy Says:

    Iwaterbath in my large pressure canner. I did not add that in the above post.

  4. Donna Herlihy Says:

    Franci and Nancy, Thanks for the advice. Will cook till it sheets and go from there! Donna

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