Using and Storing Cornmeal (E2073)


October 14, 2015 - Author: Collette Couchman

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Cornmeal is a nutritious, energy-rich addition to the diet. Cornmeal provides a low cost source of protein when mixed with legumes or dairy products.

Nutritional Value

Most cornmeal (including USDA commodity cornmeal) is enriched with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. Yellow cornmeal contains carotene which the body uses to form vitamin A.

How to Store Cornmeal

  • Occasionally, a few black specks are seen in cornmeal. These are a natural part of the kernel which sometimes stay with the product through processing. They are not harmful.
  • Store in a cool, dry, preferably dark place, in a tightly sealed container. (Place box or bag of cornmeal into plastic bag, squeeze out extra air and twist tie to seal).
  • Avoid storing under sink and over stove.
  • Proper storage will prevent mold growth, insect infestation, and will preserve vitamin A and flavor.
  • For best quality, use within 4-6 months.

How to Use Cornmeal

  • Cooked, served hot as cereal (cornmeal mush)
  • Uneaten mush can be poured into pan, cooled, sliced and pan-fried
  • Coating for fried foods like chicken
  • Meat extender (for example, as an ingredient in meat loaf)
  • Quick breads, such as corn bread, muffins, spoon bread, pancakes, tortillas
  • Sprinkled on pizza pan, to case dough spreading, allow browning of crust and prevent sticking

Cooking with Cornmeal

One cup of dry, uncooked cornmeal will equal about 4 to 4 ½ cups cooked cereal.

In baked goods, such as quick breads and pancakes, up to one-half of the wheat flour may be replaced with cornmeal.

One pound of cornmeal equals 3 cups of dry meal.

To keep breads from being grainy when cornmeal is substituted for wheat flour, mix the cornmeal and the liquid from the recipe and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool before mixing with other ingredients in the recipe.

Cooked Cornmeal Mush

(To use for breakfast)

1 cup white or yellow cornmeal
1 cup cold water
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups boiling water
optional: 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

Mix cornmeal, cold water, and salt in a bowl. Slowly stir this mixture into the boiling water in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook and stir until thick. Lower heat. Cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent sticking. For added nutritional value, add 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk during last few minutes of cooking.

May be served with:
Cold or warm milk
Raisins or cut-up dates or figs
Cinnamon-sugar mixture
Honey, syrup, jam or preserves

Makes 4 servings

Fried Cornmeal Mush

Pour hot cooked cornmeal mush into a loaf pan. Cool until firm. Remove mush from pan and cut in slices. Fry slices in heated, lightly greased frypan until brown on both sides. If desired, serve with honey, syrup or molasses.

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1 ½ cups fluid milk
¼ cup melted fat or oil
1 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar

Pour cornmeal into mixing bowl. Add boiling water, and beat until thick. Stir in eggs, then milk and oil. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir into cornmeal mixture. Pour onto hot, greased frypan or griddle in 3-inch rounds. Turn when bubbles begin to pop. Cook until lightly browned.

Makes 24 pancakes.

Tamale Pie

1 small onion, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
2 cups whole kernel canned corn, drained
2 cups cooked pinto, red or kidney beans (may use canned beans)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup white or yellow cornmeal
2 ½ cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup grated cheese (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together onion, pepper, corn, beans, chili powder and tomato sauce. Pour into an 8” x 8” baking pan.

In a saucepan, combine cornmeal, water and salt. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened. Spoon over top of bean and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle top with grated cheese. Bake in 350°F oven for 30 minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings.


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 egg
1 cup fluid milk
¼ cup melted fat or oil

Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and sugar (if used). Set aside. Beat egg. Add milk. Add fat or oil. Add  to cornmeal mixture and stir just enough to moisten. Pour into a greased 9” x 9” x 2” baking pan. Bake at 425°F, 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Makes 6-9 servings


2 cups fluid milk, heated
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup boiling water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons fat or oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix milk and cornmeal. Add salt and fat or oil to boiling water in saucepan. Add cornmeal and milk mixture, cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Slowly pour and stir cornmeal mixture into the eggs. Pour batter into a greased 9” x 9” x 2” baking pan. Bake at 400°F, 35 to 40 minutes until top is firm. Serve at once.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe Substitutions:

If using nonfat dry milk, use 1/3 cup dry milk and add water to equal 1 cup.

If using dry egg powder, sift and measure 2 ½ tablespoons powder for each egg needed. Combine with 2 ½ tablespoons lukewarm water for each egg and beat until smooth. Mix with other ingredients.


Tags: food & health, nutrition, safe food & water

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