Celebrating National Corn on the Cob Day!

Didion Corn on the cob 1cropped

It’s grilling season – the perfect time to enjoy a delicious ear of corn on the cob. Especially in honor of National Corn on the Cob Day on June 11th! But did you know the corn you are eating is probably not the type of corn that you drive by every day? In fact, in the United States, there is about 394 times more field corn grown than there is sweet corn!

Field Cocorn-stalkrn

Field Corn, also known as dent corn, is the traditional corn that you see driving past cornfields. These are the very tall corn ears that you see harvested in the fall. Field corn is also referred to as dent corn because of the indent that each of the kernels get as the corn dries out. Dent corn is very dry and mainly used to make animal feed and ethanol, though it is also used for food processing. Some of the products that field corn can be made into include: corn meal, corn flour, whole grain corn flours, pregelatinized corn flours, corn grits, corn bran and yeast protein.

fresh-picked-corn[1]Sweet Corn

Sweet corn, on the other hand, is the type of corn that can be eaten off the cob. This type of corn is harvested much earlier in the growing season compared to field corn. Producers do this so the kernels stay moist and soft and good for eating! Not only is sweet corn much easier to eat, but it also has more natural sugar, which is why you can eat it right off the cob. Sweet corn is mainly used for human consumption – corn on the cob, canned corn and frozen corn; however in some cases it’s also used as silage – food for farm animals that is stored inside a silo.

So be sure to raise an ear in celebration of National Corn on the Cob Day tonight!

Tales from the Road: IFT ’15

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IFT is coming up July 12-14 and this year it is back in Chicago. For our food sample we decided to put a new twist on a Polish favorite and a Chicago classic!  This year we are featuring a whole grain, gluten free pierogi.

What is a pierogi?Capture 2

A pierogi is a traditional Polish dish that has become a Chicago classic. This stuffed dumpling is boiled and then sometimes pan-fried, depending on the filling. Our dough will use whole grain corn flour and rice flour (instead of the traditional wheat) to keep them gluten free.

Pierogi fillings can be sweet or savory – we will serve three different types so be sure to stop by often and see what flavors we are offering!

See how Didion’s ingredients will be used in our Pierogi:

WHOLE GRAIN CORN FLOURCapture

With great flavor, plus the added benefit of being gluten free, whole grain corn flour is a better option than many of the starch ingredients typically found in gluten free products. Whole grain corn flour bring all the bulk of other starches along with a pleasing flavor.

CORN BRAN

Corn bran — featured in the filling of the lunch/dinner pierogi — adds fiber, delivers unique mouthfeel and nut-like notes that round out the flavor profile.

CORN PREGELS

Our pre-gelatinized corn flour creates a thick preservative- and additive-free sauce, and also acts as a dough conditioner to improve the pierogi wrapper’s texture and eating quality.

Come visit Didion Milling at IFT Booth 754 and see what they are all about!

By: Riley Didion, VP of Business Development at Didion Milling

Raise Your Glass!

We love Fourth of July because we get to toast to America’s freedom—with a nice, cold beer. Beer is important to us because our corn grits are used in the production process for a number of national beer brands.

What are corn grits?

Corn grits are made in the heart of the dry-milling process at Didion. During the milling process, the endosperm is separated from the bran and germ by gently grinding the corn.. Once the vitreous endosperm (the coarser endosperm) is separated, it is roller milled and sifted to the correct size range for brewers grits.

What do corn grits do in beer?

Beer is mostly made up of three main ingredients: water, barley malt, and hops. During the typical beer making process, yeast is added to the mix, which eventually helps convert the barley malt into alcohol. However, some bigger breweries like to use corn grits as an adjunct to the barley malt. You can think of an adjunct as an assistant. This means that the company can use less malt with the help of the corn grits, which will still be converted into alcohol. If a company chooses to use corn grits along with malt, they usually use a ratio of about 70% malt to 30% grits.

Why choose corn grits?

You still may be wondering, why not use all malt instead of adding some corn grits? The reason that larger breweries do this is because the grits allow them to produce a lighter beer than if all standard malt was used. Brewers grits have very little enzymatic activity, so adding them can dilute the enzymes that come with malt and produce the lighter, pilsner-type beer that Americans love!

So this weekend when you’re enjoying the fireworks and a cold brew, you might be drinking something that was produced with Didion corn grits!

By: Jeff Dillon, VP of Sales & Marketing at Didion Milling

June is National Dairy Month!

Although Didion deals mainly with corn, one of our byproducts supports the dairy industry- DDGS. DDGS, or dried distillers grains with solubles is a co-product of the ethanol process.  DDGS are typically a supplement for protein and energy in an animal’s diet.

RFA Illustration[4]How do we make DDGS?

Developing the DDGS starts with the development of ethanol. The ground corn is fermented and the yeast converts the corn starch into ethanol.  Ethanol is then removed and the remaining mash contains protein, fiber, oil & minerals. The mash then is combined with a syrup that was created through evaporating water during parts of the process. This mixture is called Wet Distillers Grains with Solubles or WDGS.  WDGS are then dried down to become Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles, or DDGS.

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What are DDGS used for?

DDGS are mainly used for livestock feed. They increase necessary nutrients for animal health, and can be a cost-effective way to supplement corn and soybean meal in a feed ration for many livestock producers.  DDGS are used on dairy farms as well as beef, swine and poultry markets.

IMG_8025DDGS at Didion Milling

DDGS are the co-product of our ethanol process. We have several producers that both supply Didion with corn and buy distillers.

So while you enjoy your milk, ice cream or cheese curds this June, keep in mind the corn products that help make these dairy products possible!

By: Justin Koopmans, Feed Sales Representative and Grain Merchandiser at Didion Milling

Happy National Corn on the Cob Day!

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It’s grilling season – the perfect time to enjoy a delicious ear of corn on the cob. But did you know the corn you are eating is probably not the type of corn that you drive by every day? In fact, in the United States, there is about 394 times more field corn grown than there is sweet corn!

Field Cocorn-stalkrn

Field Corn, also known as dent corn, is the traditional corn that you see driving past cornfields. These are the very tall corn ears that you see harvested in the fall. Field corn is also referred to as dent corn because of the indent that each of the kernels get as the corn dries out. Dent corn is very dry and mainly used to make animal feed and ethanol, though it is also used for food processing. Some of the products that field corn can be made into include: corn meal, corn flour, whole grain corn flours, pregelatinized corn flours, corn grits, corn bran and yeast protein.

fresh-picked-corn[1]Sweet Corn

Sweet corn, on the other hand, is the type of corn that can be eaten off the cob. This type of corn is harvested much earlier in the growing season compared to field corn. Producers do this so the kernels stay moist and soft and good for eating! Not only is sweet corn much easier to eat, but it also has more natural sugar, which is why you can eat it right off the cob. Sweet corn is mainly used for human consumption – corn on the cob, canned corn and frozen corn; however in some cases it’s also used as silage – food for farm animals that is stored inside a silo.

So be sure to raise an ear in celebration of National Corn on the Cob Day tonight!

By: Brenda Oft, Grain Merchandiser at Didion Milling

Corn for a Cause

Child

May 28th was World Hunger Day, bringing awareness to the 805 million people worldwide that go to bed hungry every night.

For the last 20 years Didion Milling has been producing famine relief products for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This organization provides emergency food assistance and has several programs in place that help monitor food insecurity throughout the world, save lives in times of crisis, and tackle malnutrition. In fact, about 3 billion people from over 150 countries around the world have benefited from USAID’s food assistance programs!

Did you know that corn is an important ingredient in famine relief products? We produce a total of 6 different products, but our most common ones are Corn Soy Blend Plus and Super Cereal Plus. So far, these products are being delivered to parts of Southeast and West Africa, Central America, and parts of Asia.

Corn Soy Blend Plus: CSB Plus is a highly nutritious, wholesome blended food. This a precooked blend of cornmeal and soy flour enriched with a full complement of vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent choice for famine relief! This product is a finer granulation than our Corn Soy Blend and is usually used for children under two, lactating mothers or at risk AIDS patients.

Super Cereal Plus: Super Cereal Plus is another nutrient-dense corn and soy product. However this products differs form Corn Soy Blend Plus in its ingredients – this meal is made up of heat-treated corn or cornmeal, de-hulled soybeans, nonfat dry milk, refined soybean oil, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Super Cereal Plus is also designed to be ready-to-use and intended for young children under 2 years old as a complement to breastfeeding.

Chronic hunger affects more people every year than malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS combined. Food assistance is one of the ways that we can start to lessen this problem.

To learn more about our partners on the frontline of the hunger fight, visit the following websites:

By: David Silver, Corporate Controller & USDA Program Coordinator

Raise Your Spoon

Didion-Cereal-Logo-Spoon

Happy (belated) National Cereal Day!

At Didion, National Cereal Day is one of our favorite holidays. Why? Because many of our HarvestGold Family of Corn Products go into national cereal brands. Besides being naturally gluten-free and very cost-effective, corn brings a sweet, nutty flavor and gives cereal that crispy crunch.

Last year on national cereal day, we shared with you what certain corn products bring to the table as cereal ingredients. This year we’re going to dive a bit deeper into one specific product – corn bran.

Made from the outer layer of the corn kernel, corn bran is a low-calorie, low-fat food that offers numerous health benefits. It is a great source of protein and B-complex vitamins, as well as iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium.

Corn bran also allows for the addition of consistent, high-quality, total dietary fiber. This insoluble fiber is a food-grade, chemical-free, natural product that is light in color with a slightly nutty taste. It’s the perfect fiber additive: a low-fat, low-cost alternative to other grain fiber products.

So next time you’re enjoying a delicious bowl of cereal, take a peek at the ingredients. Maybe your favorite cereal has some Didion corn bran in it!

By: Jeff Dillon, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Didion Milling

Feeding & Fueling the World Together

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Zoey Brooks, Wisconsin’s 67th Alice in Dairyland, visited Didion Milling and Ethanol on Tuesday morning to learn about how locally-grown corn is processed into food, feed and fuel products that are used in our local communities, across the country and around the world.

As Wisconsin’s agriculture ambassador, Alice in Dairyland strives to educate audiences across Wisconsin about the $59 billion economic impact and importance of our state’s diverse agriculture industry in our daily lives. Corn, as Wisconsin’s second largest agricultural commodity by cash receipts, is an important part of Alice in Dairyland’s story.

Zoey took a stroll down fermentation alley in the ethanol plant, inspected samples in Didion’s labs and explored various granulations of milled corn. While touring our facilities, she learned how corn is fractionated in our dry corn mill, then sorted for its best use in food and fuel production. For more information about how we maximize the kernel of corn in our two facilities, check out the Corn Milling 101 series on our blog.

During her year as Alice in Dairyland, Zoey drives a flex-fuel vehicle wrapped in graphics promoting ethanol production. Here are some of facts she shares about ethanol as she fuels up with E85 during her travels around the state:

  1. Provides a lot of jobs. A study done by ABF Economics found that the 13.3 billion gallons of ethanol produced in 2013 created 86,503 jobs and supported an additional 300,277 indirect and induced jobs.
  2. Lower cost of fuel for everyone. A report from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Iowa State University found that ethanol supplying about 10 percent of our fuel has reduced the price at the pump by more than $1.00 per gallon.
  3. More than fuel. One bushel of corn (56 lbs.) can produce 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 17-18 pounds of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). These are an important co-product of ethanol production and a common livestock feed.
  4. Improves the air quality of motor emissions. A study from the University of Nebraska found that ethanol reduces emissions by almost 60 percent.
  5. Decreases U.S. dependence on imported petroleum. Since 2008 net petroleum imports have fallen by one third and are continuing to decrease to the lowest level in 20 years.

Click here to learn more about Alice in Dairyland.

By: Adam Lemmenes, Plant Manager at Didion Ethanol

Tales From the Road: IFT ’14 Part 2

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Jeff, Riley & I at the Didion booth

Another IFT is in the books! Though this wasn’t my first time at the show, it was my first time attending IFT as part of the Didion team. I enjoyed talking with attendees about our new yeast protein products and their potential in the food and flavor industry.

We also had some great conversations focused on the newest addition to our HarvestGold Family of Corn Products, whole grain corn flour. It was the featured product in our Big Easy Breakfast Beignet, a special corn ingredient application we created for the IFT show in New Orleans. As Jeff mentioned last week, the beignets were made fresh at the booth by renowned New Orleans chef Frank Sclafani. The beignets were so popular that we actually ran out before the show was over!

If you weren’t able to make the show or try our Big Easy Breakfast Beignet, take a look at this video of Chef Frank and Jeff as they make and sample this delicious twist on a New Orleans classic.

By: Chris Gudaitis, Business Development Manager at Didion Milling

Tales From the Road: IFT ’14 Part 1

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Day 2 of IFT is in full swing here at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans! Riley, Chris, Katie and I are at booth 4248, talking whole grain and how Didion takes a fresh look a corn.

Renowned chef Frank Sclafani is also at our booth, serving up Didion’s twist on a New Orleans classic – the Big Easy Breakfast Beignet.

Crispy, savory and healthy, it features andouille sausage, onion, celery and red bell pepper and is served with a creamy mustard sauce or remoulade. This savory whole grain breakfast beignet features Didion’s HarvestGold® whole grain corn flour and corn bran, while the mustard sauce contains our corn bran and pregelatinized corn flour and the remoulade includes corn bran.

If you’re at IFT this week be sure to stop by and see us for an authentic New Orleans breakfast.

Keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook feeds for live updates from the show.

By: Jeff Dillon, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Didion Milling