Crop Profile
Floriani Red Flint corn

Floriani Red Flint

Heirloom Grain Corn

by Mark Murphy, Bottle Hollow Farm

About 8 years ago, I read a Mother Earth News magazine article about Floriani Red Flint corn. Their comments about the outstanding flavor of this heirloom grain intrigued me. I decided to try growing some in the garden.

When searching out seed for the corn, I also found praise for Floriani Red Flint in the Fedco seed catalog... "Stop the presses! Fabulous flavor is why we stuck Floriani into the catalog at the last possible moment. Its medium-to-deep red, pointed kernels are easy to shell. They grind into a fine, pinkish meal that bakes with an appealing spongy texture. Floriani's richly sweet, delicious, corny taste beat the competition silly in our pancake and cornbread muffin bake-off."

All this soon led to learning how to process the corn at home to make cornmeal, and striving to get my cornbread recipe just right. And they were right about the quality and delicious taste of this corn, so Floriani Red Flint is now a must-have in my garden every year.

Floriani Red Flint corn, Hopi Blue corn, and
Floriani Red Flint cornbread.

HISTORY

 

The ancestor of Floriani Red Flint corn is believed to have been carried to Italy, from North America, in the mid-1600s. There, it developed as a landrace variety in the Valsugana Valley region, which lies in the foothills of the Italian Alps. Subsistence farmers grew Floriani as a staple crop, prized for making fine polenta, until the mid-20th century.

William Rubel is credited with bringing Floriani Red Flint back to America (sometime around 2007 or so, as near as I can tell). He named Floriani after his Italian friends who shared the seed. Rubel was instrumental in promoting the corn to Mother Earth News magazine, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and Fedco seed company.

Floriani Red Flint seedlings off to a fine
start in our garden.

Here at Bottle Hollow Farm, our crop is grown on a small scale, organically, and all by hand. Due to the high amount of labor involved, we don't produce a large crop of Floriani Red Flint corn, but we make enough to share a small supply of cornmeal and grits with our customers; usually around September and October.

Mark's recipe...
Floriani Red Flint
Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients:
half-cup {1 stick} ... salted Butter
1/3 Cup ... Sugar

2 ... Eggs (room temperature)
1 Cup ... Buttermilk
1 Cup ... Milk

2 Cups ... Floriani Red Flint cornmeal
1 Cup ... All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon ... Baking Soda

1 teaspoon ... Salt

Directions:

Let 2 eggs come to room temperature. Grease iron skillet (I use olive oil).
Melt butter. Preheat oven to 365 degrees.
Use a large bowl to mix by hand, or use a stand mixer.
Combine butter and sugar. Continue to add in remaining ingredients in order...
add eggs; add milks; add cornmeal and flour; add baking soda and salt.

Pour into cast iron skillet. Bake for 35 minutes. 
Cool a bit, but slice and serve warm. Enjoy!

 

Recipe Notes:

  • The buttermilk is optional. I like the recipe that way, but you can omit the buttermilk and substitute another cup of milk if that is your preference.

  • I do not preheat the skillet. Some people like a charred crust on their cornbread, but I think the crust has better texture and taste if the skillet is not preheated.

  • I grow the corn organically and use our eggs from pastured hens, so I also try to select organic ingredients for the rest of the recipe.

  • Secret ingredient = spicy paprika. I grow a medium-hot paprika pepper in the garden, which we dry and grind for paprika powder. It has a wonderful aroma and a little bit of heat. I will often add a couple of pinches of that paprika to the cornbread mix. It doesn't make the cornbread "hot", but adds an extra note to the flavor. You might like to experiment by adding a pinch of cayenne, spicy paprika, or similar pepper powder.

 

Bottle Hollow Farm, LLC
Shelbyville, Tennessee
flavor@bottlehollowfarm.com

© 2017-2020 Bottle Hollow Farm, LLC.   All Rights Reserved.

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