Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cornmeal is a staple food in many parts of the world, made from maize (corn) that is dried and ground by hand or in a gristmill. Other names for cornmeal are masa harina, mealie meal, farina di granturco.
The usual cornmeal sold commercially in the United States is yellow cornmeal. This cornmeal is made from yellow corn and is steel ground Steel-ground cornmeal has had the hull and germ of the corn kernel almost completely removed and the meal keeps almost indefinitely if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
The corn may be stone ground instead of steel ground to produce cornmeal. Stone ground cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ lending a little more flavor and nutrition to recipes. Stone-ground cornmeal is more perishable and will store longer if refrigerated.
White cornmeal (mealie meal) is more traditional in Africa. Blue cornmeal is made from the rarer blue corn or by adding blue food coloring to the cheaper yellow cornmeal.
Cornmeal is seldom eaten in its dry form. It is usually mixed into boiling water. The meal absorbs the water and forms a thick mush. The mush is known at grits in the southern U.S., polenta in Italy, and ugali, nsima, sadza and mealie pap in various regions of Africa. Another popular use of cornmeal in the U.S. is to make cornbread and processed foods such as Cheetos.
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