Corn, a basic foodstuff
When the lights go out, if you find yourself unprepared you should at least be able to find corn in this neighborhood. Eventually you might have to grow your own, but that's doable too. Corn might be to us like rice is to the Chinese or potatoes were to the Irish.
The first thing you might need is a grain mill. I've got an old, cheap one from the 1970s, but it grinds corn, wheat and beans just fine. I am, however, considering a newer model for backup, like the Country Living or Wonder Junior.
You'll also appreciate ingredients to make the ground corn more nutritous and palatable. Cooking oil, salt, pepper and sweeteners such as sugar, honey and maple syrup come immediately to mind. Lard might eventually be substituted for oil, and we can make our own maple syrup in this country, but salt and pepper will have to be stored. Baking powder will be useful for the first year or two, and if things haven't recovered by then we'll just have to get along without it.
Nutritionally, corn is deficient in critical vitamins and proteins when it is used as the major component of your diet. Pellagra is the result of these deficiencies and the disease/condition will progress thru a general system decline and death within 2-5 years. Nixtamalization is at least a partial solution to the problem if a more varied diet cannot be achieved.
Nixtamalization is the process of soaking the corn kernal in an alkali solution before preparation for eating. I've used pickleing lime in solution (from Fleet Farm canning supplies section) to soak the kernals overnite. American Indians used a hardwood ash solution to make lye for the same purpose. Following the alkali soak, the kernals are rinsed several times in fresh water.
Then, you have a couple of choices. You can re-dry the nixtamalized kernals for later use such as the pioneer parched corn or to be ground for corn meal (sorry, I have no information as to the long term storability of these dried kernals.) You can also grind the wet kernals to make a slop (which I think is called masa in Mexico) for immediate use as tortilla or corn cakes – – even muffins if you like.
I have not seen anything about using a ratio of nixtamalized vs untreated corn in order to extend your store of pickleing lime, or as a convenience in food preparation. Presumably you could get away with skipping the nixtamalization occasionally. I have neither the time nor inclination to carry out such an experiment.
Hoping it doesn't come to this,
Hello I found my way here today Sunday January 5, probably because of the new format.
As I say. maybe this group could be revived. Just three or four people posting every week or so might do it.
As It happens I have been thinking about Minnesota Wisconsin area and beyond as regards who is in the area that are probably self sufficient already and would like to reach out to others who are as much as a 100 miles or more away. There might be a grid created for workers and travelers. In Brownton Wisconson John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist already accept guests who want to stay over. Decorah Iowa and Marysville Missouri are said to be welcoming places.
I, myself, would make a dot on a map with my 24 unit apartment building, here in Kasson Mn, where I live, with my 2 acre (mostly unused) garden 4 miles away on the main street of Dodge Center, Mn
I always read the Peak Prosperity newsletter every Sunday.