Firing up the horno for chicos

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Immediately after our sweet corn harvest, we proceeded to Chrysalis Alternative School to fire up our horno.  We obtained some extra sweet corn from a local vendor, but it now appears as if we have too much corn!  Maybe we will have to make another batch of chicos!  We are using apricot wood, a great kind of wood for this process as it burns very hot and provides some flavor to the chicos.  Juniper, apple, plum, and even chamiso can also be used for their culinary qualities.

Given our great supply of corn, we will burn wood in the horno for about three hours before we drown the fire with water (to reduce the heat and creat steam and pressure), fill the horno from the door and the chimney hole, and then cover the door and the chimney hole with mud plaster.  We will then check the horno periodically to make sure no steam is escaping, and if it is, we will cover those leaks with more mud plaster.  Since this is a new horno, we had no problems with leaks and it appears as if everything went fine.  We filled the horno with about 25-30 dozen ears of corn, which pretty much filled it up completely.  We will open the horno tomorrow morning and see how it goes…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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