Blue corn (also known as Hopi maize) is a variety of flint maize grown in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. It is one of the main types of corn used for the traditional Southern and Central Mexican food known as tlacoyo.
It was originally developed by the Hopi, and remains an essential part of Hopi dishes like piki bread. Blue corn meal is a corn meal that is ground from whole blue corn and has a sweet flavor. It is also a staple of New Mexican cuisine used commonly to make tortillas.
Five Hopi blue corn cultivars identified in the 1950s showed significant differences for several traits, such as plant height, kernel weight, width of kernel, and thickness of kernel. The different varieties have a color range from nearly black to blue-grey, with names derived from the "standard" blue ("sakwaqa'o"), hard blue ("huruskwapu"), and grey-blue ("maasiqa'o").
Tortilla protein content
Varieties of blue corn cultivated in the Southwestern United States vary in their respective contents of anthocyanins, the polyphenol pigment giving the corn its color. Anthocyanins having the highest contents are cyanidin 3-glucoside (most abundant), pelargonidin and peonidin 3-glucoside.
The Hopi used corn in religious rituals, placing blue corn in a framework of directional associations in which yellow corn was associated with the Northwest; blue corn with the Southwest; red corn with the Southeast; white corn with the Northeast; black corn with the Above, and all-colored corn with the Below.
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- Hieb, Louis A. (1979), "Hopi World View", in Ortiz, Alfonso, Handbook of North American Indians, 9, Southwest, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, pp. 577–580,
The Hopi cultural construction of space is a quadripartite one to which are added 'up' and 'down'.… From this middle place paths of cornmeal radiate outward to the six directions and various objects (including ears of corn,…) are added according to their position in the system of correspondences.