how to make hominy from field corn

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by kappydell, Dec 12, 2011.

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  1. kappydell

    kappydell Well-Known Member

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    I hope you don't mind my posting an article I wrote for backwoodsman mag about treating corn to make hominy/posole. I saw a question about it in another place, thought it might go here, too....kappydell

    FROM ANIMAL FEED TO PEOPLE FOOD: HOW TO MAKE HOMINY

    Hominy is an interesting food. It is easily made from dry corn, producing a cheap, filling, and tasty dish that has fed common folks since colonial days. Hominy grits are chopped hominy; the whole kernel type can be found canned in some grocery stores and the dried hominy (posole) can be ordered on the internet as well. But it is cheaper and a lot more fun to make it yourself. So just how do you turn that dried corn into edible hominy? There are several ways, depending on what material you find available. I have made hominy from corn I shelled from corn ears sold for feeding squirrels, as well as animal feed corn purchased from the feed store. Dent corn or flint corn work equally well, as does white, yellow, or multi-colored corn. (Popcorn does not make hominy, though it can be ground for an acceptable corn meal.)

    Now you may ask just why on earth anyone would mix lye, ashes or baking soda with corn. It sounds like an unappetizingly odd thing to eat and an awful lot of work just to make dinner. Simply put, treating the corn with lye or lime changes the corn’s chemistry in critical ways if you are depending on corn as a major food source, as our ancestors did. It takes the hull off the corn for faster cooking and for easier processing into a wider variety of edibles. (The variety keeps you from getting bored with eating corn.) But it also makes the niacin in corn more absorbable in the human body, an important way of preventing Pellagra (a malnutrition disease). It adds calcium to the corn. Finally, it alters the protein content of corn to make it a more complete protein. So there are good reasons both historically and scientifically for making hominy out of corn, as opposed to simply grinding it untreated, into corn meal.

    Hominy made with lye bought at the store is most common in my area. Be sure you get lye (sodium hydroxide), not drain cleaner, from the grocery, hardware or building supply store. Wash 2 quarts of shelled corn to get rid of dust and chaff. Put the corn in a non-reactive pot (I use my enamel canner) and add 8 quarts potable water and 2 ounces of purchased lye (about 8 – 9 teaspoons). Bring the pot to a boil and boil vigorously 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand 20 minutes longer. Drain hominy and rinse well using hot water.

    Work the hominy (rub it) with your hands, until skins and the little dark tips at the point of the corn are gone. Float them away in the rinsing water.
    Drain the hominy, rinse out the pot and put the corn back in. Add water to cover plus one inch and bring to a boil. Boil 5 min. Change to fresh water and repeat the 5 minute boiling cycle 4 more times.
    At this point you may cook and eat it, freeze it, can it or dehydrate it. This recipe makes 6 quarts or so of hominy (which amount fits my canner per- fectly for canning).

    You can make your own lye water by dripping rain water (distilled for those with no rain catching system) through hardwood ashes. You might have trouble finding a barrel to make the drip system. Don’t worry, plastic pails that stack work just as well. (Better yet if you can get the baker at the local grocery store to give you a couple for free.) Proceed to make lye water in the usual manner and remember, if it not strong enough to suit you or to float the egg, you can simply run the weak lye water through
    another pail of fresh ashes to make it stronger, or boil it down to concentrate it.

    To use the lye water to make hominy, put 2 gallons of lye water, 2 gallons of dry corn, and 2 additional gallons of plain potable water in a large non-reactive pot (that enamel canner works just fine!). Simmer until the corn kernel skins start to slip off. Drain, rinse and rub the corn through 4 cycles to get the lye out. Boil in the cleaned pot in water to cover until the skins finish coming off completely and the hominy rises top of the water. Scoop the hominy out and cook it as desired.

    You can even skip the lye making step and make hominy with wood ash directly. Put two double handfuls of clean ashes (meaning you did not burn anything but just the wood) from oak, maple or poplar wood fires into 2 to 3 quarts of clean water. Boil for 1 hour, and then let it set all night for the ashes to settle. In the morning, boil dried corn in the water (strained if you like) until the skins come off and the corn color brightens, about 1-2 hours). Rinse and rub in 3 changes of water. Use the fresh hominy right away or preserve for later.

    Some recipes use lime instead of lye to treat the corn. You can use either pickling lime (also called mason’s, builders, or hydrated lime) which is calcium hydroxide, or you can use quick lime which is calcium oxide. Either one works, they just are used slightly differently.

    To use calcium hydroxide, place 2 quarts of potable water in a large (4 quart) non-reactive pot. Put on the stove on high heat. As it begins to simmer, stir in 2 tablespoons of the lime with a wood spoon. When it is totally dissolved, add 1 quart of washed dry corn. Discard any kernels that float. When the pot begins to boil, lower heat to a simmer, and simmer 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and soak the corn 4 hours to overnight. Check it, and when the corn skins start to slip, drain the corn into a colander and put it under running water. Work and rub the corn with your hands to remove skins, and gelatinous slime. When the corn is clean, there will only remain a small speck at the corn tip. That is the germ, it can stay or not as you like. Boil the hominy in clean water until it is as done as you like.

    If your lime is calcium oxide, you use it the same way except that you do not heat the pot. You add the lime to cold water, and it will start to bubble. Stir to dissolve it completely. When the bubbling stops, add the corn, and then put the pot on the fire. Heat, soak, and rinse it as above.

    If you want a non-corrosive way to make hominy (perhaps your toddler gets into everything and feeds it to the family dog to boot) you can use baking soda instead of lye or lime. It takes longer, but is perfectly tasty just the same.

    Shell out 1 quart of field corn, and wash it to get rid of dirt, dust, and chaff.
    Put the corn in a large non-reactive (enamel or stainless steel) pot with 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Soak it overnight.
    The next day, put the whole pot on the fire, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 3 hours. Drain, replace the water with cold water and rub the corn hulls off. Drain off the water and hulls, replace with more cold water. Bring to a boil, and simmer only 1 hour this time. Drain, put in cold water and rub off more corn hulls. Repeat the simmer-wash cycle until all the corn is free of hulls. Drain, cook in fresh water until done to suit.

    Hominy can be eaten many ways depending on your whim. Boiled until soft, salted and buttered is a good way to start. Then you can try cooking it in a stew with celery, onions, kidney beans, and ground beef; adding it to chili (corn and beans make a complete protein); simmered with diced pork, garlic, onions, chili powder and oregano; or maybe with crumbled cooked bacon, some onions sautéed in the bacon fat, tomato soup thinned a bit with water and seasonings of choice. Lime-treated hominy is used in making masa (ground hominy) for corn tortillas and tamales. Recipes abound.

    If you made a little too much to eat at one time (or other family members do not like hominy) you can freeze the excess. But I find the texture suffers, so I prefer to can it or dehydrate it for storing.

    To can hominy, simmer it until the kernels are soft, then pack it hot in hot jars leaving 1 inch head space. Add 1 tsp salt per quart, or 1/2 tsp salt per pint. Add cooking liquid leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner. Process pints 60 minutes and quarts 70 minutes.

    To dehydrate hominy, I use a dehydrator (to compensate for a very humid climate). I spread cooked hominy evenly on the trays, and dry it at 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, until it is as dry as dry beans (it will break when hit with a hammer). Break a piece open and make sure it is dried throughout. The dried form, sold as posole goes for $3 to $5 a pound, and keeps well for several years if kept dry. To use it just simmer it until soft again.

    Autumn being the season of dried field corn, I get a hankering for hominy about this time of year. It has been a popular food since colonial days. Made from any dent or flint corn, of any color, it has provided cheap, tasty and filling meals for generations of hungry hard working folks. So shell some corn, and before you grind it into cornmeal, why not set some aside for hominy?



    Ive used all these techniques to make hominy, except the wood ash part because I did not have any hardwood ashes to try with. Now I have a fireplace, so I can save some wood ash....letcha know how it turns out!:2thumb:
     
  2. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

    5,950
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    I think that this article does deserve a thread of its own, but, thank you for the other post also.

    If you have any more of this type of knowledge, please post it. This exactly the kind of "Stuff" I am trying to dig up from any source available. Its also a whole lot better than trying to re-learn it trial and error, which has been fun, but also a little messy and fsometimes a little frustrating.
     

  3. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    6,660
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    Look forward to hearing about it! :2thumb:
     
  4. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

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    Kappy, I read your article in BWM:2thumb: and really enjoyed it. We have field corn everywhere around here. It will become one of my food source possibilities if TSHTF. I hope to try it yet this winter before all the corn is brought in, I may be to late for this year. Sail
     
  5. michellegray

    michellegray New Member

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    Hominy - Native, Sacred and Ancient food of land now called America

    I appreciate your informative and easy to follow instructions about preparing hominy from scratch. It is a process which is a joy and the hominy tastes much better! I am a Native American and I just thought I would add that the practice dates back much farther than colonial times. As I am sure you know, corn is a food cultivated in the continents now called the Americas. Over the past several thousand years Native people have been refining and cultivating the plant. We shared that technology with the newcomers to our old country, the Europeans, who had no knowledge of corn cultivation or hominy preparation. The wood ashes lye method is a very old Native cooking technique, not a colonial one, though they soon learned how to do it under our instruction. Amazingly corn is now one of the staples of the world. Amazing history of an amazing plant!

    Thank you for sharing and be well,

    Michelle


     
  6. Jimthewagontraveler

    Jimthewagontraveler Well-Known Member

    517
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    OK now this is the kind of post I come here for,
    and wood ash will be my first try.
    1 major complaint THIS MUST BECOME A PDF.
    Then we can all print it out to store on hard copy.
    Naekid? Andi? anybody?
     
  7. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

    3,707
    478
    It could become a pdf, or we could have a print option for posts. I have been waiting for that, instead of copying and pasting into word documents and then printing.

    Administrators, is this an option? How difficult would this be?
     
  8. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

    3,707
    478
    Michelle, thank you for your input and information. I hope you will share more Native American knowledge with us. Native Americans lived "off grid" for centuries before the arrival of Europeans and the evolution to today's society.

    I have a few Native American friends who are more removed from the old ways than I am. One of them is one of the pickiest eaters I have ever known, so it is not likely she is going to forage and cook wild foods. She won't eat anything with mushrooms.

    When SHTF, it is people who eat so much highly processed food who are really going to have a hard time, IMHO.

    Teaching young people is a part of this. A couple years ago, I popped corn with my class with my hot air popper. They got so excited to see the popcorn pop. None of my students had ever seen popcorn pop! OMG! They became very intrigued by the varieties of apples when we sampled the different types for days. When we had our fall festival, they wanted apples and popcorn. They knew I would never allow soda. We had apple cider instead.

    We have to participate in these old ways and to allow children to participate in the process, not just as observers.
     
  9. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    8,397
    88

    I echo Dave.

    I love to hear new ideas for "What can I do with all this stinkin' corn I bought?" ;)

    :D
     
  10. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    8,397
    88

    Jim - - - just highlight the text, copy and paste it into a word document.... adjust the font size and type, as well as margins to your liking - - and print it then.

    You can even save it as "simple text" and then the file size would become miniscule (a couple of Kb at the most!!).

    Trying to print directly from a .html webpage is complete foolishness.
     
  11. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    8,397
    88
    I made a .pdf for you. It took maybe 30 seconds to do with an online converter.

    This one is 160 Kb but I know I can make it a LOT smaller than that, even. I could get it down to just 2 Kb in plain text format.

    see attachment
     

    Attached Files:

  12. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, LincTex

    I often want to print information like this, and copying and pasting is what I usually do.

    But, our administrators could add a print option to our posts. I have never added that when designing web pages, but it is possible. It would move this wonderful forum up another notch!
     
  13. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

    3,707
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  14. kappydell

    kappydell Well-Known Member

    718
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    Wow, it was cool to see that post as a pdf...i don't know how to do that, either (high-tech i am not!)
    I did try the wood ash method to make hominy. It worked fine, a little slower than the other techniques, but it did work.
    I have also had quite a few native american friends and have learned much from them over the years. not all remember the 'old ways' but they are very kind to teach them to someone who is honestly seeking knowledge for personal use - not for profit, though. some things are supposed to be free - fresh air, fresh water, game enough to eat (for those skilled enough to take it humanely and use it without waste) and wisdom. Please remember, though, that free means sans money, not sans effort.
     
  15. jmanick

    jmanick New Member

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    Puree or grind your freshly made hominy with as little water as possible and it becomes "masa" -- the traditional Mayan dough that is used as is to make tortillas and tamales, thinned to make porrage, and thinned still further and flavored to make a traditional chocolate beverage. Dried, ground hominy is masa harina.
     
  16. talob

    talob Well-Known Member

    504
    0
    Just made my first hominy today using your method, looks like it came out good gonna have some for supper tonight don't see any reason it won't be good, tomorrow I'll do more then start canning it another first for me kinda cool.:)[



    QUOTE=kappydell;99823]I hope you don't mind my posting an article I wrote for backwoodsman mag about treating corn to make hominy/posole. I saw a question about it in another place, thought it might go here, too....kappydell

    FROM ANIMAL FEED TO PEOPLE FOOD: HOW TO MAKE HOMINY

    Hominy is an interesting food. It is easily made from dry corn, producing a cheap, filling, and tasty dish that has fed common folks since colonial days. Hominy grits are chopped hominy; the whole kernel type can be found canned in some grocery stores and the dried hominy (posole) can be ordered on the internet as well. But it is cheaper and a lot more fun to make it yourself. So just how do you turn that dried corn into edible hominy? There are several ways, depending on what material you find available. I have made hominy from corn I shelled from corn ears sold for feeding squirrels, as well as animal feed corn purchased from the feed store. Dent corn or flint corn work equally well, as does white, yellow, or multi-colored corn. (Popcorn does not make hominy, though it can be ground for an acceptable corn meal.)

    Now you may ask just why on earth anyone would mix lye, ashes or baking soda with corn. It sounds like an unappetizingly odd thing to eat and an awful lot of work just to make dinner. Simply put, treating the corn with lye or lime changes the corn’s chemistry in critical ways if you are depending on corn as a major food source, as our ancestors did. It takes the hull off the corn for faster cooking and for easier processing into a wider variety of edibles. (The variety keeps you from getting bored with eating corn.) But it also makes the niacin in corn more absorbable in the human body, an important way of preventing Pellagra (a malnutrition disease). It adds calcium to the corn. Finally, it alters the protein content of corn to make it a more complete protein. So there are good reasons both historically and scientifically for making hominy out of corn, as opposed to simply grinding it untreated, into corn meal.

    Hominy made with lye bought at the store is most common in my area. Be sure you get lye (sodium hydroxide), not drain cleaner, from the grocery, hardware or building supply store. Wash 2 quarts of shelled corn to get rid of dust and chaff. Put the corn in a non-reactive pot (I use my enamel canner) and add 8 quarts potable water and 2 ounces of purchased lye (about 8 – 9 teaspoons). Bring the pot to a boil and boil vigorously 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand 20 minutes longer. Drain hominy and rinse well using hot water.

    Work the hominy (rub it) with your hands, until skins and the little dark tips at the point of the corn are gone. Float them away in the rinsing water.
    Drain the hominy, rinse out the pot and put the corn back in. Add water to cover plus one inch and bring to a boil. Boil 5 min. Change to fresh water and repeat the 5 minute boiling cycle 4 more times.
    At this point you may cook and eat it, freeze it, can it or dehydrate it. This recipe makes 6 quarts or so of hominy (which amount fits my canner per- fectly for canning).

    You can make your own lye water by dripping rain water (distilled for those with no rain catching system) through hardwood ashes. You might have trouble finding a barrel to make the drip system. Don’t worry, plastic pails that stack work just as well. (Better yet if you can get the baker at the local grocery store to give you a couple for free.) Proceed to make lye water in the usual manner and remember, if it not strong enough to suit you or to float the egg, you can simply run the weak lye water through
    another pail of fresh ashes to make it stronger, or boil it down to concentrate it.

    To use the lye water to make hominy, put 2 gallons of lye water, 2 gallons of dry corn, and 2 additional gallons of plain potable water in a large non-reactive pot (that enamel canner works just fine!). Simmer until the corn kernel skins start to slip off. Drain, rinse and rub the corn through 4 cycles to get the lye out. Boil in the cleaned pot in water to cover until the skins finish coming off completely and the hominy rises top of the water. Scoop the hominy out and cook it as desired.

    You can even skip the lye making step and make hominy with wood ash directly. Put two double handfuls of clean ashes (meaning you did not burn anything but just the wood) from oak, maple or poplar wood fires into 2 to 3 quarts of clean water. Boil for 1 hour, and then let it set all night for the ashes to settle. In the morning, boil dried corn in the water (strained if you like) until the skins come off and the corn color brightens, about 1-2 hours). Rinse and rub in 3 changes of water. Use the fresh hominy right away or preserve for later.

    Some recipes use lime instead of lye to treat the corn. You can use either pickling lime (also called mason’s, builders, or hydrated lime) which is calcium hydroxide, or you can use quick lime which is calcium oxide. Either one works, they just are used slightly differently.

    To use calcium hydroxide, place 2 quarts of potable water in a large (4 quart) non-reactive pot. Put on the stove on high heat. As it begins to simmer, stir in 2 tablespoons of the lime with a wood spoon. When it is totally dissolved, add 1 quart of washed dry corn. Discard any kernels that float. When the pot begins to boil, lower heat to a simmer, and simmer 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and soak the corn 4 hours to overnight. Check it, and when the corn skins start to slip, drain the corn into a colander and put it under running water. Work and rub the corn with your hands to remove skins, and gelatinous slime. When the corn is clean, there will only remain a small speck at the corn tip. That is the germ, it can stay or not as you like. Boil the hominy in clean water until it is as done as you like.

    If your lime is calcium oxide, you use it the same way except that you do not heat the pot. You add the lime to cold water, and it will start to bubble. Stir to dissolve it completely. When the bubbling stops, add the corn, and then put the pot on the fire. Heat, soak, and rinse it as above.

    If you want a non-corrosive way to make hominy (perhaps your toddler gets into everything and feeds it to the family dog to boot) you can use baking soda instead of lye or lime. It takes longer, but is perfectly tasty just the same.

    Shell out 1 quart of field corn, and wash it to get rid of dirt, dust, and chaff.
    Put the corn in a large non-reactive (enamel or stainless steel) pot with 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Soak it overnight.
    The next day, put the whole pot on the fire, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 3 hours. Drain, replace the water with cold water and rub the corn hulls off. Drain off the water and hulls, replace with more cold water. Bring to a boil, and simmer only 1 hour this time. Drain, put in cold water and rub off more corn hulls. Repeat the simmer-wash cycle until all the corn is free of hulls. Drain, cook in fresh water until done to suit.

    Hominy can be eaten many ways depending on your whim. Boiled until soft, salted and buttered is a good way to start. Then you can try cooking it in a stew with celery, onions, kidney beans, and ground beef; adding it to chili (corn and beans make a complete protein); simmered with diced pork, garlic, onions, chili powder and oregano; or maybe with crumbled cooked bacon, some onions sautéed in the bacon fat, tomato soup thinned a bit with water and seasonings of choice. Lime-treated hominy is used in making masa (ground hominy) for corn tortillas and tamales. Recipes abound.

    If you made a little too much to eat at one time (or other family members do not like hominy) you can freeze the excess. But I find the texture suffers, so I prefer to can it or dehydrate it for storing.

    To can hominy, simmer it until the kernels are soft, then pack it hot in hot jars leaving 1 inch head space. Add 1 tsp salt per quart, or 1/2 tsp salt per pint. Add cooking liquid leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner. Process pints 60 minutes and quarts 70 minutes.

    To dehydrate hominy, I use a dehydrator (to compensate for a very humid climate). I spread cooked hominy evenly on the trays, and dry it at 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, until it is as dry as dry beans (it will break when hit with a hammer). Break a piece open and make sure it is dried throughout. The dried form, sold as posole goes for $3 to $5 a pound, and keeps well for several years if kept dry. To use it just simmer it until soft again.

    Autumn being the season of dried field corn, I get a hankering for hominy about this time of year. It has been a popular food since colonial days. Made from any dent or flint corn, of any color, it has provided cheap, tasty and filling meals for generations of hungry hard working folks. So shell some corn, and before you grind it into cornmeal, why not set some aside for hominy?



    Ive used all these techniques to make hominy, except the wood ash part because I did not have any hardwood ashes to try with. Now I have a fireplace, so I can save some wood ash....letcha know how it turns out!:2thumb:[/QUOTE]
     
  17. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

    3,707
    478
    Posole or tamales!

    My favorite ways to eat hominy is in posole or tamales.

    I had someone tell me that posole was bland. IT IS NOT! But it could be if you do not add enough seasoning. I like mine with pork pieces, chilis, garlic, onions, and lots of spices.
     
  18. talob

    talob Well-Known Member

    504
    0
    More Hominy

    I made up another batch of hominy but this time I dehydrated it, kept out enough to try it and vacuum sealed the rest in two quart jar, it rehydrated really well had it for supper last night, another success.
     
  19. Davarm

    Davarm Texan

    5,950
    7
    You can also grind the dried hominy and make cornbread and cook it for grits.

    I suspect that the dried/ground would make Masa for tamales and tortillas also but I haven't gotten arount to trying that.
     
  20. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

    3,707
    478
    masa from hominy

    There are grocery stores that have masa that has been reconstituted and ready to make into tamales or corn tortillas, probably more in the Southwest.

    I like to go into Hispanic grocery stores (as well as all kinds from all over the world that I see) and depending on the store, many have it made up and ready to go.

    We can buy dehydrated posole in a small package in our grocery stores. I like that for food storage. But we also have #10 cans (and smaller sizes) of hominy.

    I make big batches of posole, especially in the fall when we can get roasted green chili's by roadside. They are the perfect combination.

    Hominy is the only wet packed food that I buy in #10 cans.