Blue Hopi Corn is an heirloom variety of corn. It was developed by the Hopi people to grow well in the desert conditions where they lived in what is now part of Arizona. It was a staple food for this agriculturally based culture. They used it to make piki bread, used in courtship rituals. The Hopi also used blue corn in rituals to represent the direction of the winter solstice sunset, with other colors of corn to represent the other directions. Men ate blue corn to give them strength for long journeys. Corn was carried along trade routes that ran as far as Mexico and the coast of California before European colonization.
The blue Hopi corn plants grow 5-6 feet tall. They are able to grow in dry areas, due to being developed in an arid area. The ears are 7-10 inches long. The kernels start out a cream color when young and develop color as they mature, ending up a rich blue color (anywhere from slate to midnight dark) as they start to drydown.
The kernels have a higher protein content, and the protein is more complete than more common varieties of corn. The blue color is caused by anthocyanins, which are a kind of antioxidant. It is high in amino acids, iron,
They can be harvested young and eaten as a sweet corn, or grown to maturity, then dried and ground into flour.
Blue corn flour has a slightly sweet flavor and is great for making tortillas and corn bread. It is also used in traditional Mexican cooking, making a thick, tortilla-like cake called tlacoyo. It can be used to make hominy, a drink called atole, soups, stews, and corncakes.
You can dry the ears and use them decoratively, as their shiny, deep coloration is very attractive.
Corn isn’t fond of being transplanted, so it is best sown directly in the garden, when the weather is warm and all danger of frost has passed. Begin by tilling the sowing area, removing all unwanted plant life and weeds. Sow the seeds at a depth of 1/2” to 1” under topsoil. Check below for spacing.
Corn is a sun loving crop that prefers warmer temperatures of 65F or higher. The plants are picky when it comes to soil conditions, and will grow best in a medium that is nitrogen rich and loamy. You will also need to make sure that the sowing area is well drained. To improve drainage, we always recommend adding a light compost to any areas containing hard, compact soil. Water the seeds daily until germination.
Corn will typically take anywhere between 7 to 14 days to germinate, if optimal conditions are met. The plants can grow to a towering, 6 feet tall and can spread about 18 inches wide. Corn can be spaced 12 to 15 inches apart from one another, in rows that are spaced about 30 to 36 inches apart.
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