The Black Hawk Corn Sheller for the budding homesteader (in me)

I  picked up a primitive antique corn sheller yesterday.

Why you ask?

Well, in case you haven’t already figured it out,  I’m a wanna be modern “homesteader” ;-)

Last year about this time while I was waiting for my wife @  Wal-Mart this  article in Mother Earth news caught my eye:

Floriani Red Flint Grain Corn: The Perfect Staple Crop for Every Homestead

Here’s a portion of the article : ” Cornmeal is a culinary world in itself: cornbread, muffins, pancakes, waffles, polenta, grits, scrapple, cornmeal crusts for fried chicken or vegetable fritters, and, if you boil whole kernels with culinary lime, you enter the world of hominy, hominy grits, and Mexican tortillas and tamales. Yet it’s ironic that despite 88 million acres of corn growing in the United States (the estimate for 2010), there are few choices of grain corn in the grocery store. Cornmeal is such a commodity product that it’s rarely fresh in stores, packages don’t tell you which corn variety was ground to make it, and it’s nearly impossible to buy whole kernels for grinding…..

So I thought to myself,  I need to grow some of that!

Well, I wasn’t the only one who read that article because by the time I tried to get some Florian Red, it was all sold out.

Not to be deterred,  I tracked down another variety of Heirloom corn, with many of the same benefits.  Mandan Bride .  If it was good enough for the Mandan Indian tribes, then it’s good enough for me.  I ordered 1 pound of seed, and ended up with 47 pounds shelled corn yesterday.  (found out the hard way, raccoons also love Mandan Bride when it’s in the milk stage (must taste like sweet corn to them) :-(

In our attic several years ago, our kids several dozen antique seed corn drying hooks which came in handy this Fall when  it came time to save the seed for next year:

2011 crop hanging on antique corn dryers

I’ve been looking @ all those ears of corn that needed shelling  the past couple of months and kept thinking, boy, that is going to be a lot of corn to shell by hand….started looking on-line for a hand corn sheller.  You can find them on e-bay or new @   Pleasant Hill grain.  On a lark I called our local antique mall…sure enough, Jan had one hanging on the wall, already mounted to a box for $65.00 .  I told her I’d be in on Saturday…Here it is:

Our new (Old) Black Hawk corn sheller

close up  end view of the sheller

Me dropping the ear of corn into the sheller yesterday.

One ear of corn would shell out in about 5 seconds. 


Corn dodgers were very popular among the first settlers to Iowa.  A  typical meal in 1839 would consist of ham, eggs, corn dodgers and coffee…we’re talking morning, noon and supper. :-(

Once in a while when I’m feeling “historical” I’ll make this meal.

Here’s  a recipe for corn dodgers:

“Mix with cold water into a soft dough one quart of southern corn meal, sifted, a teaspoonful of salt, a tablespoonful of butter or lard, melted.  Mold into oval cakes with the hands and bake in a very hot oven, in a well greased pan.  To be eaten hot.  The crust should be brown.”

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About DM

sitting on my grandpa's farm porch with Feedie
This entry was posted in country living, enjoying life, History, life in the country, self sufficient, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Black Hawk Corn Sheller for the budding homesteader (in me)

  1. viggie says:

    Oh wow, gorgeous corn!
    Thank you! I just stopped by your blog and signed up :-) You had lots of posts I found interesting. DM

  2. ceciliag says:

    How fantastic, we have one of those in our shed it is on a stand, and is absolutely dangerous, I love all your varieties. we have a little sustainable farm but we do not grow corn, it just will not grow for me! c
    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I popped over to your blog and signed up tonight as well. DM

  3. Piotr Jasica (Mungbean) says:

    Hi and greetings from New Zealand. I’m currently in the last 10 mins of an auction for an old Black Hawk Corn Sheller and came across your blog while researching corn shellers. I’ve had one of those days and your above blog was exactly what I needed. Great reading and easy to read. Thanks for making me smile. Cheers Piotr.
    What a treat to hear from you Piotr! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment :-) DM

  4. Scott says:

    Does your Corn Sheller work on Popcorn?
    I will check it out and let you know. I think we have some popcorn laying around here that needs shelled. DM

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