Not sure if this is the correct forum, but can't find another that fits either.
I am trying to grow my own corn husks for tamale, in New Zealand, as we are paying huge prices for imported ones, and then can't be guaranteed they are not from GE corn.
I have saved husks from sweet corn, but they are so thin and small they don't look like they would do the job. Would they get bigger and tougher if the corn was left to dry stage? Do I need a special kind of maize?
We want a lot to sell the tamales, but we also have 8 acres and various critters to feed (goats, pig, cattle, chickens) so we would make use of an abundance of Maize.
The corn used is called field corn, or dent corn, where I am. It's not the sweet kind and the ears tend to be larger. It's usually used in its dry form rather than cooked and eaten while green.
As far as finding husks the right size I do know that you don't have to just use one corn husk per tamale. It's mess till you get the hang of it but you can use two husks if needed. And yup, banana leaves are a common wrapper in many places and I've even seen tamales wrapped in cooking paper if that's all there was.
We love love love making homemade tamales. We are not professionals or anything, but we also would like to take our tamales to another level. After eating some that were pretty bland with tiny amounts of filling at our local farmers market...we said, "hmmm. Ours are flavorful, organic, vegan, and yummy". We found that we could grow Field/dent corn. We received our seeds from the yearly seed exchange here in Lawrence Kansas from a seed saving angel Diane Henry! These seeds are dated to the 1800's! Using this type of corn you can grind the corn for the Masa and use the husk for the tamales!!! Happy growing!!
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We grow lots of painted mountain corn, a good majority of the husks are good for tamales, given the huge diversity in corn cob shapes, sizes, and colors. The corn makes fantastic nixtamal for tortillas and tamales.
The corn is extremely hardy and genetically diverse.
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association