Do you know about the Iroquois White Corn Project that has been happening at Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor over the past few years? Do you like greens and beans? If so read on and I will share my recipe and inspire you to get involved in an event that is very rewarding.
Last fall, my daughter Sarah and I went to the North Farm at Ganondagan in Victor and volunteered in their Husking Bee and what a great day we had. Over 6,000 ears of the white corn were husked that weekend. The husking bee was in the barn and different working stations were created. Kim Morf, the Iroquois White Corn Project Manager, greeted each person as they arrived and gave out assignments to keep the day moving along.
My first station was husking where I sat on a bale of hay next to my friend Amy Blum and learned how to carefully pull down the layers of corn husk and what to look for. We took off the less desirable ones separating them in to three piles; husks that would be saved for braiding; almost perfect ones that would be saved used for doll making; and others ending up in the compost pile. Your goal was to have only three strong wide husks that would remain on the cob.After husking I moved to the braiding station. Meg Joseph, Friends of Ganondagan Executive Director, was so patient in showing me how to do this as I thought it was going to be easier than it really was. I used to braid Sarah’s long hair all the time when she was younger but this was definitely a different technique to learn. When you are finished, the long braid of several ears of corn is then hung to dry in the corn crib over the winter. In the spring the kernels are then hand-shucked and prepared for roasting and then grinding into flour.
Sitting there on the hay bale I was admiring Peter Jemison, Ganondagan State Historic Site Manager, as he was telling a story and braiding at the same time with a circle of new and old friends around him. The barn created a warm and inviting atmosphere along with Native American music playing and people of all ages engaging in all the tasks and truly enjoying themselves while accomplishing a big job.
After all this work and fun it was time to eat! Sarah and I then went in to the farm house where many dishes, all containing white corn, had been prepared under the guidance of Jeanette Miller, Friends of Ganondagan Program Director. We had some delicious soup and corn bread. Before leaving I bought some of the roasted whole corn to take home and see what I could create.
I decided on a spinoff of one of my family favorites and incorporated the Three Sisters Greens and Beans with beans, white corn and squash! The dish was a delicious success if I may say so myself. Family, neighbors and co-workers all loved it. I am happy to share my recipe with you to try at home.
By the way - the bags of roasted hulled white corn and flour are great ideas for gift giving - who doesn’t like getting a gift of food and you will be supporting the Iroquois White Corn Project.HUSKING BEE DETAILS
The dates for this year’s Husking Bee harvest event are October 10, 11 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 7191 County Road 41 in Victor. Help the Iroquois White Corn Project husk and braid, hand picked Iroquois White Corn. Learn about this culturally significant indigenous food. Be a part of keeping this important tradition alive. Enjoy delicious Iroquois White Corn dishes. Dress according to the weather Please bring hand pruners. Registration is encouraged to ensure we have enough food to serve. Register by calling 585-742-1361 or email whitecornprojec
Three Sisters Greens & Beans
4 tablespoons butter
1 Vidalia onion (or any other kind of sweet onion), diced
1 package Hartmanns Old World Apricot and Cranberry Sausage
2 delicatta squash, seeded, and cut into bitex-sized pieces
1 ½ cups Roasted Iroquois Hulled White Corn, cooked according to package directions
1 pound chopped kale
1 can (14.5 ounces) black-eyed peas
1 can (14.5 ounces) cannellini beans
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup grated Pecorinio Locatelli cheese (or parmesan)
In a large soup pot with a heavy bottom, melt butter over medium high heat and sauté onion in butter until caramelized. Slice sausage into bite size pieces and add to onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add squash, corn, kale and 2 1/2 cups of water in large soup pan and boil squash is al dente. Add 3 more cups of water, black eyed peas and beans with their liquids to the soup pan. Lower heat to keep pot at a simmer. Let simmer for 45 minutes. May need to add more or less water based on desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper Garnish with grated cheese. Enjoy!