Lying corn is an art.
Although many people have different versions of what they do, the pattern is similar. Some use different hardwood ashes. Some prefer maple. Then there’s hickory. Others try lighter hardwood ash like ash. The wood choice also determines the length of time the White Corn is blanched.
The blanching of the White Corn begins with soaking the corn in water. As the heat of the water is gently raised, ash is added. The trick is to practise and see what is too much ash or too little. A small handful. A big handful. The cooker sees the colour of the corn change from white to a yellowish colour. The hull and grits are softened — the outer shell is removed to allow for the softer inner kernel to be cooked.
The newly lyed White Corn is rinsed. Sometimes it is possible to save the grits, but often this shell is washed away with the ash water.
However, once the lyed corn is washed it is ready to be made into delicious Corn Soup, or Kanehstokwa. There is also another recipe from this newly prepared corn called Corn Bread — or what some people call “kanehstenohares” meaning “washed corn”.
But that’s another story.