Native American lore, maize (or corn as it is commonly called in the
U.S.) was one of the "three sisters." Along with beans and squash, the
three sisters were planted and grown together, supporting each other in
their life cycle and providing a very balanced diet of carbohydrates,
proteins and vegetable fats to their cultivators.
typically has hard seed coats that with rounded, smooth, kernels
consisting of soft starch covered by horny starch. Many “Indian” corn
types are flint type. The are well suited for making good quality corn
meal or ground and used for livestock feed.
Flour corn is composed almost completely of soft starch with thin seed coats.
Kernels are round and smooth like flint corns. In these modern times,
they are primarily used for making corn flour.
however, flour corn was also raised and used for parching. Parching is a
process whereby the kernels are gently roasted until they slightly
expand, the seed coat splits and the kernels become soft. Parched corn
was used as a snack or trail provision and could last several months if
You can parch just about any flour corn variety
but some are better suited than others. White and yellow varieties are
typically the least flavorful parched. Try using the more colorful varieties as then
tend to be neither bland nor strong tasting. Many are sweet with
flavors that develop further as they are chewed.
American corn was the genetic foundation of all other corn varieties.
"Indian" corn is rarely grown in the garden today. Columbus was one of
the first Europeans to see maize or corn. The Pueblo Indians were
raising irrigated corn in the American Southwest when Coronado visited
in 1540. The settlers at Jamestown were taught how to raise it in 1608
and in 1620, it helped to keep the Pilgrims alive over winter. Corn
cobs were found in Tehucan, Mexico that date back 7000 years.