NAHM2021: Celebrating Indigenous Foods

NAHM2021: Celebrating Indigenous Foods
Posted on 11/05/2021
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Giving thanks today (and always!) for all the amazing opportunities our students are provided by educators of all types here at Salt River Schools.

Recently, our Food Services staff introduced students and families to blue corn mush in a fun drive-thru taste test and asked, "Should we add this item to our school meal menus?" Nearly everyone said YES!

Watch this fun video of Food Services staff making the blue corn mush (a yummy staple for many Southwest tribes) and serving it to eager (and sometimes trepid!) students and families. Make sure to check out the recipe below and try it at home!

The Food Services team celebrates National Native American Heritage Month through a variety of food-related activities in November to showcase the incredible agricultural and culinary sciences inherent in O’odham and Piipaash traditions and contemporary practices, as well as the importance of supporting and enjoying foods produced by local farms, such as Ramona Farms, which grows and supplies many traditional/Indigenous foods to the area.

Blue corn mush #Facts

  • Blue corn is extremely drought tolerant.
  • Blue corn grows 5-7 feet high!
  • Blue corn is one of the main types of corn used in traditional foods across the Southwest and Central Mexico.
  • Our ancestors have been making this dish for thousands of years!
  • Blue corn mush is not only delicious, but also very nutritious!
    • Juniper or cedar ash is used to make blue corn mush.
    • Ash adds a good source of calcium, approx. 200mg per teaspoon!

Blue corn mush nutrition facts.

Stay tuned for more recipes and taste tests!

Click here to download the PDF.

This recipe is a sweet and fruity version of the dish that comes from many tribes of the Southwest featuring blue cornmeal and juniper ash (an ingredient sometimes used in Indigenous cooking). Fresh strawberries and bananas (or other fruit!) topped with (local!) honey are added to turn this into a refreshing and energizing breakfast.

Ingredients (makes 25 servings)

  • Blue Cornmeal (dry): 6 1/4 cups
  • Juniper Ash*: 6 1/4 tsp
  • Salt: 3 1/4 tsp
  • Water: 25 cups
  • Fresh/Raw Fruit (sliced): 6 1/4 cups per fruit
  • Honey: 12 1/2 tsp

Directions (makes 25 servings)

  1. In a large bowl, mix blue cornmeal, juniper ash, and salt. Pour water into sauce pot and stir in cornmeal mixture with a whisk until smooth. Turn heat to medium-high and continue to stir until mush thickens, approximately 5-10 minutes.
  2. Portion 1 cup blue corn mush using an 8 oz. spoodle into each bowl and top with 1/4 cup strawberries, 1/4 cup banana, and 1/2 tsp honey. Serve warm.

*Critical control point: Hold for hot services at 135 degrees F or higher.

Blue corn mush ingredients.

Natasha Martinez mixes blue corn mush while Shannon Reina supervises.

Assisted by Gilbert Reyes, Shannon Reina spoon0s blue corn mush into small cups for taste testing.

Natasha Martinez spoons fruit atop blue corn mush that's in taste-test cups.

Salt River Schools staff get to taste-test the blue corn mush fruit cups.

Salt River Schools staff get to taste-test the blue corn mush fruit cups.

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