With heirloom corn making a comeback, many have been curious about what type of corn Pa would have planted on their farms. During the pioneer era when Pa planted corn, the type of corn planted was typically called either “field corn” or “dent corn” and was the type of corn typically used for cornmeal, which was a major staple for the Ingalls.
This type of corn is characterized by a small indentation or “dent” on the top of each kernel, which forms as the starch inside the kernel dries and hardens during the growing process. Dent corn is a starchy and large-kerneled variety of corn, which is typically used for animal feed, as well as for making cornmeal as the Ingalls did, corn flour, and other food products.
Field corn is not as sweet as sweet corn which is more commonly consumed as a vegetable, such as corn on the cob or creamed corn.
Field corn is also more drought resistant and can be grown in harsher conditions, which also made it very popular. It was a most appropriate crop for the pioneer’s needs at the time, as it could be stored for long periods of time and used as a staple food source.