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Thread: Pinole or parched corn

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    Elder Super Moderator GreyOne's Avatar
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    Default Pinole or parched corn

    I have used pinole, along with jerky and our modern "trail mix" as my camping and hunting staples for years. Most bushcrafters are familiar with jerky, though the pressed crap sold in stores should not have the name. Most of us also know and make some form of trail mix, which actually is an easy alternative to the Indian pemmican.

    What seems little known is the use of Pinole, or parched corn.

    I have taken the liberty of pasting some excerpts from the "Camping and Woodcraft" book by Horace Kephart below, to give a bit of background, and perhaps encourage some experimentation.

    Pinole - parched Indian corn; the travelers food of the pioneers.

    [ "It is Indian corn parched in the hot ashes, the
    ashes being sifted from it; it is afterwards beaten
    to powder and put into a long leatherne bag trussed
    at the Indian's backe like a knapsacke, out of which
    they take three spoonsful a day." Roger Williams,
    the founder of Rhode Island, said that a spoonful
    of nocake mixed with water made him "many a
    good meal." Roger did not affirm, however, that it
    made him a square meal, nor did he mention the
    size of his spoon.

    In Virginia this preparation was known by another
    Indian name, "rockahominy" (which is not, as our
    dictionaries assume, a synonym for plain hominy,
    but a quite different thing). That most enter-
    taining of our early woodcraftsmen. Colonel Byrd
    of Westover, who ran the dividing line between
    Virginia and North Carolina in 1728-29, speaks of it
    as follows:

    "Rockahominy is nothing but Indian corn parched
    without burning, and reduced to Powder. The Fire
    drives out all the Watery Parts of the Corn, leaving
    the Strength of it behind, and this being very dry,
    becomes much lighter for carriage and less liable to
    be Spoilt by the Moist Air. Thus half a Dozen
    Pounds of this Sprightful Bread will sustain a Man
    for as many Months, provided he husband it well,
    and always spare it when he meets with Venison,
    which, as I said before, may be Safely eaten without
    any Bread at all. By what I have said, a Man needs
    not encumber himself with more .than 8 or 10 Pounds
    of Provision, tho' he continue half a year in the

    The Moravian missionary Heckewelder, in his
    History Manners and Customs of the Indian
    Nations describes how the Lenni Lenape, or Dela-
    wares, prepared and used this emergency food:

    "Their Psindamooan or Tassmanane, as they call it,
    is the most nourishing and durable food made out of
    the Indian corn. The blue sweetish kind is the grain
    which they prefer for that purpose. They parch it
    in clean hot ashes, until it bursts;, it is then sifted
    and cleaned, and pounded in a mortar into a kind of
    flour, and when they wish to make it very good, they
    mix some sugar [i.e., maple sugar] with it. When
    wanted for use, they take about a tablespoonful of
    this flour in their mouths, then stooping to the river
    or brook, drink water to it. If, however, they have
    a cup or other small vessel at hand, they put the
    flour in it and mix it with water, in the proportion
    of one tablespoonful to a pint. At their camps they
    will put a small quantity in a kettle with water and
    let it boil down, and they will have a thick pottage.

    With this food the traveler and warrior will set out
    on long journeys and expeditions, and as a little of
    it will serve them, for a day, they have not a heavy
    load of provisions to carry. Persons who are un-
    acquainted with this' diet ought to be careful not to
    take too much at a time, and not to suffer themselves
    to be tempted too far by its flavor; more than one
    or two spoonfuls, at most, at any one time or at one
    meal is dangerous; for it is apt to swell in the
    stomach or bowels, as when heated over a fire."

    The best of our border hunters and warriors,
    such as Boone and Kenton and Crockett, relied a
    good deal upon this Indian dietary when starting
    on their long hunts, or when undertaking forced
    marches more formidable than any that regular
    troops could have withstood. So did Lewis and
    Clark on their ever-memorable expedition across the
    unknown West. ]


    My own version of pinole is frozen corn from the store or fresh corn from the garden, with the kernels lightly roasted or parched in a cast iron skillet, I use a bit of salt in the skillet and only a tiny coat of bacon grease.

    When all the kernels are parched( takes constant stirring)
    I grind them in a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder when in a hurry. I add a bit of cinnamon and sugar for flavor, and place in empty mixed nut cans for storage.

    This stuff is bland but palatable, filling to the stomach, and fairly nutritious, as well as being light weight and VERY long lasting in storage.

    Try it if you get a chance.

    Do a search on Pinole in the text copy of "Camping and Woodcraft" in our downloads section to read more on this useful trail food. (Don't bother to google it- the hits are mostly about California communities.....)
    Last edited by GreyOne; 07-21-2014 at 10:20 AM.
    Nemo me impune lacessit ! Wisdom is knowing what to do; Skill is knowing how to do it ; Character is what lets you actually do the job.
    Turley Knife Club #59

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    Thanks for this info!
    PMZ

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    Not sure if its pinole, but I love my Corn-nuts and always take a sack full with me when I'm out and about. I sometimes grind them up and add them to hot water to make a paste and eat that for a quick meal.

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    Default pinole

    Down here along the mexican border pinole is pretty popular. Ocasionally i venture accross the "line" to a shop in Naco Sonora to buy It along with green coffee beans,oxaca chocolate, Pinoche sugar cones, locally made tequila and chillies.

    The yaqui indians make a mixture of pinole,coffee,sugar,chocolate, and chilli tepines which they make into a thick drink by adding boiling water.

    It is pretty filling and tasty.

    tomahawk

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    I used parched corn all the time. I buy bags of frozen sweet corn kernels, and dry them in my dehydrator. Then I parch them in a skillet on the woodstove. Keep stirring them while they heat so they don't burn. They'll turn brown, swell up a little bit, and even pop a little.

    They taste sweet and good by themselves, or you can add them to soup or stews.

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    All good advice guys I'll have to try some
    Nie pogrywaj ze mna

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    With jerky, trail mix or true pemmican, and pinole, a good hunter could stay out for months on one packload of food I think, and never go hungry.
    Nemo me impune lacessit ! Wisdom is knowing what to do; Skill is knowing how to do it ; Character is what lets you actually do the job.
    Turley Knife Club #59

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    I don't see much difference in this and corn meal. Am I right or wrong.

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    The parching before grinding results in a lower water content and better keeping qualities 'I think, but it would certainly be possible to use cornmeal for it- I know they do use corn meal in ?Mexico to fix the "Pinole" corn drink which is popular there.
    Nemo me impune lacessit ! Wisdom is knowing what to do; Skill is knowing how to do it ; Character is what lets you actually do the job.
    Turley Knife Club #59

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    Default atole

    Quote Originally Posted by GreyOne View Post
    The parching before grinding results in a lower water content and better keeping qualities 'I think, but it would certainly be possible to use cornmeal for it- I know they do use corn meal in ?Mexico to fix the "Pinole" corn drink which is popular there.
    its called Atole

    tomahawk

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