Posted by: Zach Bennett | August 6, 2009

Roasting the corn: 2009

The corn roasting pit is my favorite part of Suvuyuki Day.  Preparing, filling, and digging out the corn from the pit is one of my fondest memories of our week long trip back to Arizona.  To the Hopi corn is a vital part of their culture and a keystone of their diet both historically and now and roasting it is one of many ways that the Hopi prepare it. 

We started the roast by lighting a fire at the bottom of the pit using almost all greasewood.  Justin Setella wanted to use this particular wood because it burns very hot.  After the pit was sufficiently heated (after at least 4 hours) and the fire had burned down we threw in several handfuls of green corn leaves and sealed the ventilator hole with corn leaves and clay.  We used these to provide a layer of insulation between the coals and the corn so the ears wouldn’t be burned.  Next, Justin added a couple buckets of water to provide some steam to cook the corn with.  Then we dropped in the 40 dozen ears of corn we had been provided along with another bucket of water for good measure.    

Putting in the corn

Putting in the corn

With all the corn in the pit we needed to seal the pit to keep the steam in.  We pulled over a sheet of steel on top of the pit and began filling in all the cracks with corn leaves (see picture below).  Once we had finished with the cracks we began packing wet clay on top of the edges and finally we buried the whole sheet with dirt.  After letting it set overnight we opened it in the morning and I jumped in and began taking out buckets of hot, steamy corn.     

sealing the pit

sealing the pit


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