Hominy, or more accurately, hominy feed is a byproduct of dry corn milling. Dry millers make corn grits, corn meal, corn flour and corn oil. Corn grits, sometimes called hominy, are degermed corn.
Hominy can be made with either white or yellow corn. Specifically, hominy is made from maize, which is also called field corn. This type of corn is used in making cornmeal, corn flakes, and other grain products as opposed to sweet corn, which is the well-known vegetable that can be eaten on the cob. Hominy is the essential ingredient in such staples as grits and corn tortillas.
The difference between hominy and corn is that hominy is a corn product and corn is the raw ingredient. Hominy is made from dried corn kernels soaked in a lime or lye bath, according to the Huffington Post. The lime or lye bath adds alkaline to the corn, softens kernels, loosens the hulls and makes the kernels expand.
The other cool thing about masa, or really about hominy in general, is that by nixtamalizing the corn, the nutrient niacin can be absorbed into the body through the digestive tract. So basically, hominy is gigantic corn kernels that are delicious, more nutritious, and even keep better. Just when you thought corn couldn’t get any better.
Hominy is a food produced from dried maize (corn) kernels that have been treated with an alkali, in a process called nixtamalization (nextamalli is the Nahuatl word for "hominy"). "Lye hominy" is a type of hominy made with lye.
Hominy is prepared from field corn kernels that have been soaked in an alkaline solution and then rinsed. Dried hominy can be prepared as you would prepare dried legumes. Hominy also comes ready-to-eat in cans. Products made from hominy include grits and masa harina, from which tortillas are made.
For one, the alkaline process corn undergoes to become hominy means it won't sprout when stored. This was very important in ancient times. Two, the process of making hominy makes it so that the nutrient niacin, found in corn, can be assimilated by the digestive tract rendering it more nutritious.
What is hominy corn used for? Once prepared, hominy corn is a versatile pantry staple. In many Mexican dishes, it’s ground into a fine powder which is then used to make the traditional masa harina, or corn dough. Because of the soaking process, this form of cornmeal can create a dough that untreated cornmeal can not.
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Hominy is a corn product that can resemble whole corn or ground products, like polenta. You'll likely be familiar with corn on the cob or canned corn, but hominy may be a type of corn you're unfamiliar with, even though it's sold in various ground and whole forms.