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Tuscarora White Corn

Zea mays

Tuscarora White Corn, otherwise known as skaroora White Corn or Iroquois White Corn, is an ancient heirloom corn that is presently grown by farmers the haudenosaunee confederacy of nations. Tuscarora is an heirloom variety of eight-row corn that has historically been a staple of the skaroora people.The corn has big white kernels, large ears, and has the perfect consistency to grind into corn meal for breads and soups. Its genetic variability fashions a multiplicity of flavors from earthy to sugary. Tuscarora is praised within the haudenosaunee confederacy of nations as a link to good physical health, as well as its intrinsic connection to the vibrancy of traditional native cultures.

After hulling, the Tuscarora White Corn is dried and made into three main types of meal, each version with its own flavor and distinct consistency. The hulled whole hominy—also known as posole—is made with the whole corn kernel, tamal flour is made from hulled corn that is then stone-milled, and lastly, roasted corn flour is lightly pan-roasted and then stone ground.

A few years ago, a small industry began at the Iroquois Cattaraugus Reservation in western New York State to respond to the diminishing cultivation and harvest of Tuscarora White Corn. Until the introduction of this project, growers around the US cultivated less than one hundred acres of the corn. In order to safeguard the uniqueness of the corn, the project works with native farmers who plant the crop in ways that reduce and eliminate cross-pollination with commercial varieties. Once harvested, the corn is processed and converted into meal on the reservation by members of Pinewoods Community Farming, a native-owned and operated nonprofit organization.

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