"Eat the rainbow"
This tag line Skittles has used for years to get you to buy their candy. It's pretty, You should buy it. I get it. I like my food to be colorful. I do not want a bag of just orange carrots, I want them to be orange, red, yellow, white, and purple. I have strawberries seeds to plant in my garden that are yellow and white berries. I have always wanted to try the Pink Lemonade blueberries. Brussels sprouts - I like'em purple. It should be no surprise then when I say I love my corn meal to be blue.
What is Blue Cornmeal?
Yes the color is not something you may be use to. Blue Cornmeal comes naturally comes from blue corn. You may not be use to seeing blue corn because your not going to find at the grocery store. While there may be a few sweet corn varieties that are outside of the yellow or white spectrum they are hard to come by and I haven't found one that I liked.
The flavor of the blue cornmeal is a bit nuttier in taste. Some say it's sweeter. It gives you a more robust taste.
Is Blue Cornmeal Healthier?
I believe so. Foods that are those darker colors contain some very good for us stuff. Here is more information from Sunny State Produce:
Studies have shown that blue corn is higher in the amino acid lysine, the antioxidant anthocyanin, zinc and iron than most yellow or white corn. Blue corn also contains Vitamins A and Thiamine, B2, and niacin. Research has found that blue corn tortillas contain more protein than their yellow or white corn counterparts, as well as lower starch content and lower glycemic index (GI). Food with a lower starch and lower GI breaks down more slowly into sugars absorbed by the blood stream and can help people avoid spikes in blood sugar levels, which can be helpful for people on low GI diets, such as diabetics.
The Blue Cornmeal I Recommend
This is the perfect occasion to skip the grocery store and find a small, local source. The key thing I look for is that the cornmeal is stone ground. When this is done the cornmeal retains it's flavorful and very nutritious germ. These cornmeal doesn't last as long. They can go rancid. So keep them air-tight and cold. Storing in the fridge or even the freezer is good practice.
The Blue Cornmeal I used for this recipe was from War Eagle Mill in Rogers, Arkansas. The history of the mill goes all the way back to 1832. Even thought it has been destroyed or damaged several times it's still turning it's eighteen-foot waterwheel.
A Go-To Recipe
We all have those stable recipes in our homes. The ones that we make so often we don't need to consult a recipe anymore. One of those in our family is Honey Cornbread Muffins. The recipe I have been using was created by the Pat and Gina Neeley who use to have a show on the Food Network and you also use to be married, If you ever saw the way they interacted on the show you would be shocked that they got divorced.
My mother loves the corn muffins. She wants me to make them every time she is over for dinner. I once brought them over to a friend's house. He was very particular about his cornbread and rarely found any he liked. He loved these!
Just because this recipe has turned out so well it doesn't mean I still don't mess around with it. I have said this more than once on this blog, but I am not about leaving well enough alone. What could I do to make this recipe even more fun? I turned into crackers for one. Also swapped the yellow corn meal for the more colorful blue.
Let's not forget one of the most important ingredient is this recipe is of course the honey. The muffins will only be as good as the honey you put in them. I like to go with a honey that has a bit more flavor. Buckwheat honey provides a nice bold flavor in baked goods, so it's an easy one to recommend, I also like this honey -
Sourwood is one of my favorite honeys for it's delicious, complex flavors. It has a hint of spice to it and even sometimes I can taste a subtle maple flavor in the honey. Check out my post on honey varietals to learn more about different types of honey.
1. Using the blue corn meal produce a wonderful result. The muffins came out with a nice blue hue to them. I believe the muffins themselves were actually more tender than muffins made with their yellow counterpart. I have been pleased every time I have used blue cornmeal.
2. You can use paper muffin liners if you like. I don't as I think it's just money wasted. If you use a non-stick muffin pan and spray it well enough with oil before hand they should pop right out when you are done. Save the liners for cupcakes - or forget the cupcakes and make more of these!
3. Make sure when you are mixing the batter to not over work it. Just bring the ingredients together. If it isn't perfectly smooth don't worry about it. The lumps will work there way out when cooked. If you overmix this batter you won't like what you end up with. So DONT OVER MIX IT!!!!
Give this recipe a try and play around with your corn meal. There is a whole world out there than goes beyond the cheap yellow stuff.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar
- In another mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs, honey, and melted butter.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix to just combine. Don't over mix. It's ok if there are lumps.
- Spray with cooking spray to keep the muffins from sticking. Evenly distribute the batter to a 12 cup muffin pan.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from the muffin pan as soon as you can handle them.