Corn is an essential survival food because of its high carbohydrate content, nutritional value, and is easy to store. It is considered a vegetable when it is harvested fresh; what you, I and most humans eat. It is considered a grain when it is allowed to dry out in the fields (commonly referred to as dent or field corn) and harvested for animal consumption. If you've ever seen a corn field all brown and yellow, your first thought may have been, "they must be having a drought." The case may very well be that the corn is being allowed to dry out to be sold as livestock grain.
Deer Corn, Cracked Corn, and Whole Corn are commonly found at feed stores like North 40, hunting stores such as Cabellas, and of course superstores like Walmart. Deer Corn is the cheapest of these feeds and is the very cheapest at Walmart because of their buying power. Here in Northern Idaho it is currently $5.97 for a 40 lb bag of deer corn. Pretty darn cheap, in fact Walmart's buying cost is above their retail price (their loss is your "Grain"!).
So what's the difference between the vegetable corn that you and I eat, and the field corn thrown to the chickens? Not much, in fact you are perfectly ok to eat the corn grain straight from the bag; however it is a little hard (corn nuts anyone). When you do the math six bucks a bag is a bargain compared to the corn from the produce and frozen departments at your grocery store. I did a small comparison to show the value of a bag of deer corn at Walmart compared to common corn products, and none of them come even close to the price per pound of deer corn.
If you're into food storage, emergency prep, or survival prep, you might consider adding deer corn to the must-have-storage list. When all the lights go out, the wells have dried up, and your money is worthless, a little prep work and ingenuity can go a very long way. Let's dive in and I'll show you what you can do with all that corn!
Step 1: Choosing a Mill
Of course you can open the bag and just go to town. I don't think your teeth will thank you for this so we must do a little prep work. You will need to grind the corn or soften in for effective human consumption. You can grind your field corn into corn flour (masa) to make corn tortillas, tamales, empanadas (yum), and much more. You can also grind it for corn meal to make corn bread and other deliciousness!
There are many grinders and mills out there that can turn your corn kernels into masa or meal. When choosing a grinder for survival situations you will want to find one that can be used without electricity. The grinder I have and recommend is the Victorio VKP1024 Deluxe Hand Operated Grain Mill. It does a great job grinding corn into meal, it's fairly inexpensive, and it's easy to take apart to clean. I honestly don't think you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a hand grinder, but they are definitely out there. The Country Living Hand Grain Mill has some of the best reviews, and will last you a lifetime; however it comes with a hefty price tag. If you can afford it, this might be the one to get. Check them out and choose whichever one suits your individual needs the best.
Step 2: Grain Into Flour
Turning grain into flour is very simple. If you're using a hand crank version you just need to load up the top of the mill with your grain, place a bowl down to catch the extrusion, and crank away. It's really that easy. You can reload the mill with the ground grains depending on how fine you want the flour to be.
FYI, If you're not in survival mode, or you have access to electricity, a Vitamix will turn deer corn into powder in a matter of seconds.
Step 3: Eating Your Bounty
Consuming field corn isn't just for survival mode. I just made some Jalapeno and Cheddar Cornbread with my cornflour, and I'm still alive (and diarrhea free)!. Actually they were quite delicious! So far I've used deer corn to make cornbread, corn tortillas, corn chips, and empanadas. Not bad for survival food if you ask me. While this instructable is intended to show you how to utilize deer corn as a survival staple, it really can be used in every day life.
Step 4: Long Term Storage
Once the corn is turned to flour or meal it will be a little harder to store, but it can be done. I recommend sealing the flour in Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers, then placing the bags in a 5 gallon bucket and sealed with a Gamma Lid. This would be ideal for long term storage of the flour; however if you have a cool storage area you will get longer life out of your corn by storing the grains before grinding them. Make sure they stay cool (60F or less) and dry. Doing this can increase the shelf life by double. How you choose to store your grains/flour all depends on the conditions and what is available to you.
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