Cracked corn can be an integral part of the diets of several species, but when there’s an adjective in the name of something, it usually means that it doesn’t come that way. Cracked corn is no different. Once you’ve grown your corn, you’ve got to do something to turn it into cracked corn.
You can crack corn in a food processor. To do so, remove the husks, blanch the shucked corn, shuck the kernels, and then dry them. Next, pour the corn into your food processor’s wide bowl, hit the pulse button a few times, and break the whole kernel into a cracked piece.
Knowing what cracked corn is, how to make it, and its purpose will be vital to deciding how to prepare it. So you’ll need to give these things some thought, and as is almost always the case, do some research. Let’s talk about whether you can crack corn with a food processor.
What Is Cracked Corn?
Cracked corn is what its name says: it’s corn kernels that have been cracked into pieces. Of course, you can’t just pull an ear of corn off the stalk and get to cracking, but we’ll get to that.
Dent corn (named because of the small dent on the top of each kernel) is widely considered the best variety of corn for this purpose. It’s also suitable for cracked corn because dent corn is often too tough to eat off the cob.
Who Or What Eats Cracked Corn?
The vast majority of those who consume cracked corn are not humans:
- Birds can eat cracked corn more easily than they can whole kernels.
- Cattle don’t get as much nutritional value from whole corn as cracked due to the kernel’s outer shell.
- Deer munch on it when they find it, often near some hunter’s deer stand.
People who eat it are often preppers and others who look for ways to lay up food stores. And then there are those highly cost-conscious people who know that a bag of deer corn is just as edible as corn bought from the grocery store.
People just need to prepare this corn a bit. You could conceivably stick a spoon down in a 40-pound bag of corn from the feed store, but it’s going to be like chewing gravel.
Another use for cracked or ground corn is in distilling spirits. If you make your own liquor, you’re likely to use corn, and you need to break those kernels down at least somewhat.
Many distillers use cracked corn, so knowing what to use to crack said corn is important.
How To Crack Corn
At some point, you’ve already started humming “Jimmy Crack Corn” to yourself. This song isn’t about cracking corn at all, so stop it. (It’s actually about a slave child drinking corn whiskey in celebration of his master’s death. Cheery stuff.)
Jimmy notwithstanding, once your corn has grown, you’ve got to do some things to it before you can crack it. Of course, an alternative to all I’m about to go through is to buy this Executive Deals Cracked Corn Feed for your birds or cows or whatever.
Before we get to the food processor, we have to prepare the corn.
It has to be dried out and off the cob, so:
- Remove the husks. This involves peeling the green leaves off the ears of corn, and the silk needs to come off, too.
- Blanch the shucked corn. “Blanching” may sound fancy, but it only involves two steps. First, boil the shucked ears for about four minutes (this will also remove any silks you missed). Second, drop the boiled corn in ice water for a minute or so.
- Shuck the corn kernels from the cobs. If you’re not sure how to do that, this woman does a terrific job showing you how.
- Dry those kernels. Either use a dehydrator like this Elite Gourmet Food Dehydrator or set your oven to a low temperature and leave the door open.
For other alternatives to removing the kernels, check out this guy who had fun shucking with a power drill:
Once you’ve dried your corn and have a bowl full of kernels, it’s time to get to cracking.
You’ve probably got one of the kitchen appliances best suited for this task. But if you have all of them, or if you have nothing and are trying to decide which to pick up for yourself, next, we’ll look at what works and what works best.
The Blender vs. The Food Processor
Now your corn is ready for the actual cracking, and here’s where you must make some decisions. If you’re the kind of person who cracks his own corn, you very well may be the kind of person who has a blender and a food processor in his kitchen already, so which one are you supposed to use for this?
If you already have a food processor and a blender, you may already know which to use. If you’re trying to decide which to buy, you’ll need to know what each one is for and why people opt to have both items in their kitchen arsenal.
The kitchen appliance with the sharp blades at the bottom of a conical bowl is what you use to make a smoothie or a puree, and you can often find a blender in the least equipped kitchens.
It’s very versatile, and it seems more popular than food processors. This popularity may be due to its association with margaritas, but that may require further study.
None of this means that a blender like this Oster BLSTTS-CB2-000 Pro Blender isn’t a valuable tool or better or worse in general than a food processor. Blenders are generally for drinks, soups, and generally wet things.
In other words, this isn’t the tool for grinding nuts and seeds, so it’s not ideal for cracking corn since a corn kernel is actually a seed. Once you’ve dried it, it’s quite like a nut.
In basic terms, a food processor is a blender intended for dry (or at least drier) ingredients. A food processor’s container is wide at the bottom instead of the cone shape of a blender for the express purpose of dealing with dry ingredients.
They can spread out a bit while they’re being chopped or sliced or julienned. Those familiar with using food processors swear by them and their ability to cut down food preparation time significantly.
The food processor’s significant advantage over the blender is the variety of available interchangeable blades for specific tasks. There’s an attachment allowing the food processor to function as a blender.
But there are also slicing blades, dicing blades, blades for kneading dough, and attachments for whisking, among other choices. There’s even a blade for cutting French fries.
You can spend less than $100 like this Cuisinart FP-8SV Elemental Food Processor on a food processor, or upwards of $200 and more like the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY Food Processor depending on features and capacity.
The Grain Mill
It’s low on the list of time- and labor-saving kitchen devices, but a grain mill like this VBENLEM Manual Grain Grinder can crack corn or even grind it finer into corn flour. If you’re after something like this, there’s KitchenAid KGM All Metal Grain Mill Attachment for your KitchenAid mixer.
If you’re just going to be cracking corn, though, avoid this gadget, as there are better ways to do it. But if you intend to make cornflour (which is admittedly not the same as cracked corn), this deserves some consideration.
Incidentally, if you’re, in fact, wanting to grind your own corn flour, it’ll be much easier if you crack your corn first, so a food processor can still be a great help to you.
Why A Food Processor Is Best For Cracking Corn
Your food processor is built for dry ingredients, and whether you’ve dried your corn according to the instructions above or left it out on drying racks through the winter, you still have dried corn to deal with.
If you put it in the blender, you’ll have less control over just how cracked the corn gets– you may end up making cornmeal rather than cracked corn.
Also, any moisture in your corn or blender bowl will contribute to producing a mush. Gross.
The different choices of blades are nice in your food processor, but the main plus here is the wide bowl. You’ll be able to hit the pulse button a few times and break the whole kernel into cracked pieces.
If you want them smaller, pulse a few more times. When it’s cracked to your satisfaction, pour the dry product into a bowl, bag, or bird feeder.
The blender’s conical shape will, even in the driest conditions, have some corn compacted at the bottom that you’ll either have to scrape out or just chalk up to a lost product. Cleaning a blender after cracking corn will be more difficult than with a food processor.
If you’re cracking corn, you likely fall into the category of people who know more about corn than average, and you also have an idea of what tools do the job well.
Maybe none of this was new to you. If you’re new to the cracking game, you can now see why a food processor is the best choice for cracking.
You can use a food processor to crack corn. You’ll get better results and have an easier clean-up than with a blender, and whatever creature you’re feeding with it will be happier than they would if you gave them the corn mush.