Polenta is a very finely milled powder of Flint corn which is harder and grittier than Dent corn. Ubiquitous with American Southern cooking it originates in South and Central America and has become popular all over the globe particularly in Italian cuisine, much like the tomato. Corn, which comes in more varieties than one can count, can be used for many different purposes and applications. Dry mill corn is much more than grits and cornmeal. Arguably, corn possesses the most culinary diversity of any grain. From corn flour to very coarse grits, whole hominy to hominy grits, nixtamal to masa to chicas, parch meal to ancient roasting corns—the range of exciting foods within the vast cuisine of corn is astounding.
Native Americans embrace all of these foodways and in addition, grow corns of many colors, which they believe possess philosophical and spiritual meaning in addition to the obvious nutritional benefits of “eating the rainbow.” In using ancient varieties you can unlock the culinary potential of corn as well as the nutrition of them. Unadulterated by genetic modification corn has been a staple food for people for generations and should continue to be one. Polenta, as a subset of corn, is one form that can be rendered into a fine culinary experience in addition to a valuable addition to one's diet.
If you look around your local farmers market, you will almost certainly see large heads of cabbage. If your favorite organic farm doesn’t already sell them, buy whatever medley of root vegetables they have, and use those instead. Homemade sauerkraut, kimchi or fermented root vegetables are a treat, and with refrigeration can last well into fall and beyond.
For this project, a special piece of equipment that I use, and you should as well, comes in very handy: a fermentation crock.
One of the first things to be finished in our garden will be our herb and rose garden. Created from the existing rock garden beds surrounding our patio, it will have sage, thyme, rosemary, summer savory, oregano — to name just a few herbs — as well as five large rose bushes. The beautiful pink and yellow lilies will remain. We got a good start on it this past weekend, unperturbed by the requirement to dig up some old shrubs and their roots.