Dried corn kernels that have been ground in one of three textures fine, medium or coarse. There are two methods of grinding. The old-fashioned water-ground (also called stone-ground) method so named because water power is used to turn the mill wheels retains some of the hull and germ of the corn. Because of the fat in the germ, water-ground cornmeal is more nutritious but won't keep as long and should be stored (up to four months) in the refrigerator. Water-ground cornmeal is available at natural food stores and some supermarkets. The newer style of milling is done by huge steel rollers that remove the husk and germ almost completely. The product can be stored almost indefinitely in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Water-ground or stone-ground cornmeal is usually so labeled; steel-ground cornmeal rarely carries any designation on the package. Cornmeal is either yellow, white or blue, depending on the type of corn used. Yellow cornmeal has slightly more vitamin A than white. Blue cornmeal is available in specialty markets and some supermarkets. An increasing number of blue-corn products is also available, such as blue-cornmeal flakes (breakfast cereal) and chips.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.