Corn, also known as Maize, was an important crop to the Native American Indian. Eaten at almost every meal, this was one of the Indians main foods. Corn was found to be easily stored and preserved during the cold winter months. Often the corn was dried to use later. Dried corn was made into hominy by soaking corn in water until the kernels split open. These would be drained and fried over a fire.
American Indians would also ground corn into corn meal. They would use mortars and pestles made from either rock or wood. Corn was placed into the hollowed out mortar and then by pounding the corn with the pestle, this would grind it up into a powdery form. Corn meal could then be used for cornbread, corn syrup, or corn pudding. Often corn meal was mixed with beans to make succotash or to thicken other foods.
The husks from the corn cob were also used. Braided, the husks would become masks, sleeping mats, baskets and even cornhusk dolls. Shoes were sometimes made of corn husks. All that would be left was the corncob. These were used to make darts, to burn as fuel, or made into ceremonial rattling sticks. Corncobs were tied to the end of a stick, to dangle and rattle against other corncobs. Corn came in a variety of colors, such as white, red, blue, and yellow. Most people think of Indian corn as the corn with a variety of colors on one cob.
When Europeans first came to the Americas, they were taught about corn by the Indians. Native American Indians gave the Europeans corn seed and taught them how to grow corn. Today eating corn at Thanksgiving is a tradition many join in. Currently the United States uses more farm land to grow corn than any other crop.
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