Picnic Perfect

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Summer is almost officially here! As the weather heats up, people head outdoors. What better way to enjoy the weather than spending time outdoors with friends and family at a picnic? June 18th is International Picnic Day – pack up your blanket and basket and pick the perfect spot!

While you’re preparing your picnic, don’t forget our favorite food item here at Didion – corn! Besides the summer staple of sweet corn on the cob, you can find field corn in a number of picnic-ready products.

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Did you know that when you’re grilling your burgers or brats with charcoal, you’re using a corn product? Corn is commonly used in charcoal as a binding agent to help the briquettes keep their shape!

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Or how about when you grab a nice cold beer from the cooler? You might be enjoying another corn product! Corn grits are used by a number of breweries as an adjunct to the barley malt, creating a lighter, pilsner-type beer.

 

Just another example of how corn is perfect for any occasion!

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Gluten-Free, Naturally!

Corn is naturally gluten-free right off the stalk. That makes it the perfect ingredient in a wide variety of gluten-free applications. Corn can help increase protein levels and replace wheat protein functionality. Various grains and starches can be used to get gluten-free products closer to the desired functionality and taste profile of gluten-containing foods, but few are as cost effective and label friendly as corn.

Corn’s naturally gluten-free properties don’t guarantee that all corn products on the market are gluten free. Some are processed in a facility that handles gluten materials. Grains can become mixed to some degree in the distribution channel. It’s difficult for multi-grain manufacturers to make sure their products are wheat free. Corn, because of its distribution channel, has minimal risk of cross contamination; especially when manufactured in a gluten-free facility. Our quality assurance team tests products to make sure they’re within gluten-free guidelines as well as customer specifications.

Corn flours are a great candidate for gluten-free recipes, bringing protein and starch to the recipe. That makes it a great ingredient for pasta applications. Viscosity-controlled corn flour provides a more uniform product in kneading machines and automated dough processing equipment. Our pregels – corn flour that’s been heat and moisture treated to give it specific properties – have great binding properties and provides stabilizing functionality. It all depends on the formula you’re putting together.

Corn bran brings fiber to the label and aids in moisture retention with its high water-binding capacity. It binds water more efficiently compared to carbohydrates. It also keeps starch from leaching out during boiling.

What about corn gluten? It contains different proteins than wheat gluten. Wheat, like other cereal grains, contains more than 100 different proteins.  Two specific wheat proteins, gliaden and glutenin, have been shown to cause sensitivity. These two proteins are not found in corn. While there is a corn gluten protein, it has not been associated with the health issues caused by wheat gluten.

By: John Deininger, Quality Assurance Manager at Didion Milling

Going Whole Grain

Consumers are increasingly seeking healthy food products and food manufacturers are continuing to invest in research and development to meet this need. Why? Many people consume too calories and too much sugar, fat and sodium.

Among these changing product formulations is the use of whole grains. The USDA recommends that half of all grains consumed be whole grains but most Americans are barely eating one serving of whole grain per day and nine out of ten Americans aren’t getting enough whole grain.

Research shows that eating whole grains as part of a healthy diet can improve heart health, weight management and diabetes management, while reducing risks of some cancers. Additional studies have shown that children and adolescents that eat cereal for breakfast have a lower Body Mass Index and waist circumference than those who don’t eat cereal at breakfast or who skip breakfast.

Many cereal companies are trying to include whole grain more than any other ingredient at a minimum level of 10 grams per serving up to 16 grams per serving.

Another area American diets fall short is in fiber consumption. Dietary fiber is important to digestive health and can help curb hunger. Some research suggests that people who have a higher intake of fiber also tend to have a healthier body weight.

The FDA and USDA are creating new goals to improve health and nutrition claim criteria for food products. Food reformulations are also changing because food processors are responding to USDA standards for K-12 school meals, which include meeting whole grain requirements.

Consumers are reading food labels more than ever, so food manufacturers are asking for more recognizable, label-friendly ingredients, like corn.

In response to this, Didion Milling has added whole grain to their family of corn products, specifically made for the cereal market.

Another emerging whole grain need is adding fiber from whole grain ingredients into foods that people are already eating, rather than creating new whole-grain-based foods. This is especially prevalent in cereals and snack foods, both popular applications for Didion’s dry milled corn.

Whole grain corn is an economical, label-friendly way to add whole grain to products. To learn more about Didion’s whole grain corn flour visit our website.

By: Riley Didion, Sales Manager at Didion Milling

Corn Milling 101 Part 2: Where Our Food & Fuel Products Come From

Food and fuel start with the corn kernel and its four unique parts: the endosperm, pericarp, germ and tip cap. We use those four parts of the corn kernel to make grits, meals, flours, brans, pregelatinized flours and whole grain corn flours; as well as ethanol.

Parts of the kernel

Endosperm – The endosperm carries most of the dry weight of the kernel. This part of the kernel contains starch, which is commonly used in food. The endosperm provides the starch necessary to produce sugar molecules for ethanol production. Products that come from this part are grits, meals and flours. Flour is the finest out of all three products made from the endosperm and grits are coarsest.

Pericarp – This part is the outer covering of the kernel that shields it from bugs. It also preserves the nutrient value of the inside. The pericarp is used for corn bran found in everyday foods.

Germ – The germ is the only living part of the kernel and is the centermost piece. This part stores genetic information, enzymes, vitamins and minerals for the kernel so it can grow when it is on the ear. Twenty-five percent of the germ is oil, making it one of the most valuable parts of the kernel.

Tip cap – This part attaches the kernel to the cob. Water and nutrients flow through here to help the kernel alive.

Whole kernel – We grind the whole corn kernel down to a specific granulation to make our whole grain corn flour.

By: Dow Didion, President of Didion Milling

Putting & Produce – Didion Gives Back to the Local Community

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Al Ogorzalek, New Berlin, Wis., hit a hole-in-one on the Ballweg Implement-sponsored hole 10 to win a John Deere XUV550 S4 Gator. Al is pictured with his wife Mary Claire Lanser.

Didion Milling hosted the seventh annual Old Mill Foundation Golf Outing on July 26 at the Fox Lake Golf Club. A new record was set this year, raising more than $15,000 for the Old Mill Foundation. Brenda Oft, grain merchandiser at Didion Milling, organized the fundraiser. This year’s event saw its first hole-in-one contest winner, Al Ogorzalek of New Berlin, Wis. He hit a hole-in-one on the Ballweg Implement-sponsored hole 10 to win a John Deere XUV550 S4 Gator.

IMG_6898The Old Mill Foundation was founded in 2006 to give back to the community of Cambria through support of local nonprofit organizations that work to enhance the lives of the Village of Cambria, Township of Courtland and the Cambria-Friesland School District. Cambria Fire Department, Cambria-Friesland School, Cambria-Friesland Youth Football Team and the Cambria Pool Fun Committee are a few such organizations that have benefited from the Old Mill Foundation’s numerous donations and scholarships.

Didion Milling’s summer food drive had an overwhelming response, as employees donated 373 pounds of non-perishable food items for the Cambria Bread Basket to help fight local hunger. Didion Milling and Alsum Farms and Produce of Friesland, Wis. generously matched employee contributions by donating fresh produce. This resulted in more than 1,000 pounds of food to stock the local food pantry for families in need.

According to the University of Wisconsin-Extension, hunger affects 1 in 11 households in Wisconsin, or approximately 560,000 people. The food donated has fed people not just in the Cambria community, but other communities in the area such as Columbus and Beaver Dam.

A Look Back at IFT 2013

We had a great time at IFT last week, which took place at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Our 2013 theme, “Take a Fresh Look at Corn,” challenged attendees to see corn in a new light.

A move to high-fiber, gluten-free, easily-understood foods and other consumer-asked-for product features are having a growing influence on the food industry. Our HarvestGold Family of Corn Products help food companies meet these growing consumer demands.

Sales of high-fiber snack bars and cereals have risen in recent years with the high-fiber market expected to reach $28 billion by 2017. Likewise, the gluten substitute food and beverage industry, already a $2.7 billion business, is expected to grow to $4.3 billion over the next five years, according to Datamonitor.

Our unique IFT food sample, the Didion Corn Pup, was created by a gourmet chef as an update to the American classic corn dog. They included three Didion products: corn meal, corn bran and viscosity-controlled corn flour, making them not only high fiber but gluten-free! And no Corn Pup would be complete without our special high-fiber caramel and brown mustard sauce.

Check out this video of our Customer Service Manager, Karyn Hickman, making a batch of Didion Corn Pups at our IFT booth.

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

Take a Fresh Look at Corn at IFT Booth #1349!

Day two of IFT is just about to begin! Check out how we are taking a fresh look at corn at booth #1349 in the Healthy Foods Pavilion.

photo 3Our chef Anthony is serving up our very own Didion Corn Pups, a crunchy, smoky-sweet and spicy take on a summer classic made with our corn meal, corn bran and viscosity-controlled corn flour. The corn pups will be served with a tangy, sweet, caramel mustard sauce that has more fiber than the average dipping sauce.

If you are at IFT this week, join us for a corn pup and conversation about how we are taking a fresh look at corn!

Watch our Facebook and Twitter feeds for trade show updates.

By: Riley Didion, Sales Manager at Didion Milling