Discover the vibrant, nutritious world of blue corn mush - a traditional Native American dish made from blue corn meal, culinary ash such as juniper or cedar ash, and spices that will tantalize your taste buds and nourish your body. Indulge in a dish that's not only rich in color and flavor but is considered a staple in Indigenous communities as well as a testament to their culinary heritage.
This easy-to-make dish is made by boiling blue corn meal, juniper ash, and spices to make a nutrient dense breakfast, snack, or as a complement to any meal. Learn more about the history of blue corn mush below or [Jump to Recipe].
Of the many types of corn that exist, the yellow or white sweet corn found in your typical grocery store is the most commonly consumed in America due to its notoriously tender, juicy kernels. While preparing sweet corn can be as simple as boiling a pot of water, it's far from the most nutritious lineage of corn.
Known for its exceptional color that ranges from dull gray to vibrant purple hues, blue corn is a type of flint corn originally cultivated in the SouthWest. Unlike sweet corn, the tough kernel structure of flint corn means it must undergo a process called nixtamalization, where the corn is soaked in an alkaline solution typically made up of water and lime. Blue corn is said to have a sweet, earthy flavor. However, flavor isn't the only edge blue corn has on white and yellow corn; it's also better for your health!
Compared to its counterparts, blue corn contains 20-30% more protein and has a lower glycemic index (a measurement of how food increases blood sugar levels) that make it an ideal choice for the health-conscious and those monitoring their sugar intake. Like blueberries, antioxidant-packed anthocyanins are what give blue corn its distinctive coloring and health benefits. In fact, blue corn contains greater quantities of anthocyanins than even blueberries! (Pro Tip: Blueberries pair beautifully with blue corn mush, so head over to Tocabe Marketplace and try our Wild Blueberry Syrup with this recipe) According to the Cleveland Clinic, studies show that foods high in anthocyanins may lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and the development of neurological diseases, and even slow the spread of cancer!
The ashes of burned Juniper trees were used by many communities for its nutritional and healing properties, in ceremonies, and to amplify color when dyeing fabric. In the blue corn mush recipe below, cedar ash acts as the alkali agent that increases the nutritional value of blue corn and aids in intensifying its distinctive pigment. The addition of this ingredient increases the amount of calcium, niacin, and vitamin B3 the corn is able to release. One gram of ash is said to have an equivalent calcium content to a glass of milk.
Thanks to the discovery of nixtamalization by Indigenous people, we are able to use blue corn as a diverse and nutrient rich food source in everything from blue corn mush to tortilla chips!
If you want to try the traditional blue corn mush recipe below or experiment with the many other culinary uses of blue corn meal, visit the Tocabe Marketplace to stock your Indigenous food pantry. When you shop at Tocabe Marketplace, you're also supporting local communities. For every two products sold, we donate one to a Native or Indigenous community-based organization!
Blue Corn Mush Recipe
A traditional Native American dish made from blue corn meal, juniper ash, and spices that will tantalize your taste buds and nourish your body
Preparation Time :
Cooking Time :
Total Time :
- Pour 4 cups of water into a small stock pot and bring to boil.
- Once water is boiling turn down to a simmer and add 1 tsp. cedar or juniper ash, 2 TBS. maple syrup, and ½ tsp. smoked sea salt. Whisk until dissolved.
- Once dissolved, add 1 cup of corn meal slowly while continuously whisking.
- After all corn meal is added, turn heat down to low and continue whisking until the desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat. Note: The finished dish should be similar in appearance and consistency to oatmeal, grits, or polenta.
- Place corn mush in a bowl and top with fresh berries, roasted seeds, and add a drizzle of maple syrup or agave nectar!
About theTocabe Marketplace
Our philosophy is Native first, local second. We source the right products from the right people. To us, ingredients don’t just make the food, they tell the story behind it.
Accessibility to high-quality, healthy Native and Indigenous ingredients is extremely limited based on location. Tocabe’s Indigenous Marketplace is simplifying the supply chain and making regional cuisine locally accessible by connecting you to Native and Indigenous ingredients with just the click of a button.
By shopping at our Indigenous Marketplace, you’re participating in food sovereignty and supporting Indigenous farmers, ranchers, and caretakers across the nation, making an impact in our communities. So, shop our marketplace today. And in the meantime, learn how to create Tocabe’s pancake recipe with Native-produced, wholesome ingredients that also make a difference.