A little over a month ago I began my internship at Homeadow Song Farm, an artistic homestead in Spring Grove Village, Cincinnati under the guidance of C.V. Mansoor, a fine artist currently practicing through the activities of her farm. Besides the initial desire to work at an internship to gain real world art experience, I believed Homeadow Song Farm would be perfect for bringing depth to my art. Through being a part of the farm’s community, I could grow my understanding of the concepts I’ve been interested in for my paintings this past year – eating naturally, growing closer to community through eating locally, being more involved with the food we eat. So far this has definitely been the case. For the beginning of this internship I really got to know what slow food means. Vicki has a three sisters garden (a companion plant technique used by Native Americans to grow corn, beans, and squash) and grows sacred Hopi blue corn with which she makes nixtamal (corn where the hull is removed from the kernel with an alkaline solution). Nixtamalizing the corn adds calcium from the lime solution it is soaked in, and it beaks down the corn to release the vitamin niacin. This can eaten by itself or used in soups or chili. It can also be ground to make masa, or corn dough, and used in bread, tortillas, or even lightly ground to make vegetarian tamales, like we did.
I soaked the blue corn in calcium hydroxide (lime) overnight, and then rinsed it once the soaking process was complete. To rinse the corn it had to be poured into a colander and then rubbed to release the hull and rinse it away. It was a pretty simple, but very long process. After the corn was rinsed, we ground it to make the tamales.
This is when we ground the corn! You can see Vicki’s hands shaping the corn for the vegetarian tamale.
After all the steps were complete, we made blue corn Christmas tamales with spinach and feta with lacto-fermented red pepper garnish. And they were delicious!
I look forward to sharing even more fun stories from the farm during the next few months of my internship!
Happy making! 🙂
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