Popovo Polje Brzac Corn

Cereals and flours - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Popovo Polje Brzac corn from southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as Stodanac corn, is called so because brzac means “speedy” and stodanac means “one-hundred days,” in reference to its short vegetative cycle. It has a thin, short stem and a very small (about 20 cm long), triangular shaped cob with medium-sized, white kernels. The short cob and irregular shape and distribution of the grains are a visible characteristic of the authentic Popovo Polje variety, which has been preserved despite the appearance of many more profitable hybrids thanks to its excellent taste. It has sweet, distinctive flavor and is very suitable for local dishes such as pura, prijesnac and cicvara or cornbread. Until the 1970s, the local karstic plain would flood between autumn and winter, creating very fertile soil. Today, this variety is planted in May and harvested in September, but in the past, due to the flooding, farmers would plant their fields as soon as they were dry enough, and sometimes by autumn would have to used boats to collect their harvest during the beginning of the rainy season. Flour made from Popovo Polje Brzac corn, as with most of the Balkan corn varieties, is white. It is even more flavorful if ground with a watermill. These mills used to operate along the Trebisnjica River, but today very few are still functioning. This variety is mentioned in many writings about Popovo Polje, and this corn was once a staple crop for the local population. By 2014, only a dozen or so families were still cultivating this variety, selling it on a small scale at the local open-air markets. However, it is mainly grown for personal or family consumption as more growers switch to planting hybrid varieties and the area faces a general trend of depopulation.