Colourful flint corn isn’t just eye candy; some varieties, such as glass gem corn, can be eaten as popcorn and cornmeal.
It’s best to let the cobs dry on the stalk, but if that’s not possible (or if you’re like me, and you picked them a bit early because you couldn’t wait any longer to see what they would look like), you can continue drying them inside. Peel the husks back, leaving them attached to the ends of the cobs so that you tie them together. Hang the cobs in a dry place for a few weeks, or, place them on a screen, and rotate them daily.
As the kernels begin to dry, they will shrink. This makes it easier to remove them from the cob. Place a pan beneath the cob, then grab one end in each hand, and twist each hand in the opposite direction, gently wrenching the cob. The pressure should cause some kernels to pop out. Once there are gaps in the rows of kernels, it’s easier to use your thumb to push the rest out. Place the kernels in a wire basket to continue drying, shaking them around once a day.
To make popcorn on the stove, this method works well: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_popcorn/. You can also, of course, use a conventional popcorn maker. I just did a small test batch, since it was my first time trying the stovetop method, and got a few burned kernels. Overall, the taste is superior to bought popcorn, though I may be a bit biased.
Many varieties of flint corn can also be ground into corn meal and corn flour. To do so, run the kernels through a food processor, a blender, or a grinder specifically made for processing seeds and nuts. Afterwards, sift the results. You may be left with corn flour and corn meals of various textures. The coarser grits below will be rerun through the grinder.
Who says polenta and cornbread have to be yellow? 🙂