Grits is a corn-based meal made up of coarsely ground corn kernels
It is easy to prepare and can be enjoyed as a main dish or a side dish.
Grits is made from a particular variety of field corn known as dent corn. Dent corn kernels are first dried and then they are ground into grits.
The dried dent corns kernels may also undergo an additional processing step known as nixtamalization to produce hominy.
Hominy could be ground and used for making hominy grits as well as other dishes.
In some regions where hominy grits are very popular, grits are often referred to as hominy.
But technically, hominy and grits are different. Grits is a dish made of coarsely ground corn while hominy is nixtamalized corn which can also be used for making grits.
In this post, we are going to discuss grits and hominy as well as the differences between the both of them.
All about grits
Grits is a very popular meal.
It is made from dried corn kernels that are ground to a coarse texture.
Dent corn which is the type of corn used for making grits is a field corn variety, and it is more starchy compared to sweet corn varieties.
Polenta, a dish that is quite similar to grits is made with another variety of field corn known as flint corn.
Dent corn can be ground whole grain or milled to produce quick grits which takes less time to prepare than whole grain grits.
Grits can also be made from hominy.
How is grits prepared?
Grits is prepared by boiling it in water or milk.
It is cooked into a thick porridge dish that is very creamy and can be topped with butter, cheese, shrimps, and sausages.
The flavor of grits could range from sweet to savory
Grits could be served as a breakfast meal or as a side dish together with other dishes.
Varieties of grits
There are several varieties of grits.
The corn kernels could be processed in a variety of ways to give different varieties of grits that have different qualities.
Some varieties have a longer shelf life and some take a shorter duration to prepare compared to the others.
Grits could also vary in their coarseness. Stone-ground grits are coarser compared to the others. Stone-ground grits also take a longer duration to cook.
Regular grits are medium ground, while quick grits are finely ground and they take a shorter duration to cook.
Instant grits are grits that have been precooked and dehydrated. They can be cooked within the shortest duration.
Dent corn could be processed into hominy and used to produce grits.
Hominy and hominy grits
Nixtamalization is a process whereby grains are soaked in an alkali solution to make them softer and bring about other changes.
When dried corn kernels are used for nixtamalization, the product is known as hominy.
The pericarps of these dried corn kernels are softened by the alkali solution used for this process. This solution also breaks down hemicelluloses in the corn kernels
Hominy could be used in a number of ways especially in Mexican cuisine
It could be finely ground to make masa. It could also be consumed whole.
When hominy is ground coarsely, it is used to make a type of grits known as hominy grits.
How hominy corn is produced
Dried Corn kernels are soaked in an alkaline solution in a process known as nixtamalization to form hominy.
The alkaline solution used could be lye or lime.
This solution softens the outer hull as it is soaked and brings about a couple of other changes in the corn kernel.
After soaking, the corn kernels are washed and dried.
The kernels become easier to grind as a result of this process. It also has a rich flavor as a result of this process.
Characteristics of hominy
The alkali brings about certain changes in the structure of the corn kernels
The tough hull softens and easily separates from the rest of the kernel. The corn kernels also become bigger in size following nixtamalization.
Nixtamalization enhances the color, aroma, and flavor of the corn kernels.
It releases niacin that is inside the corn kernels, making the nutrients available for absorption when consumed.
The alkali used is also a source of calcium.
Dried dent corn kernels could be processed or ground in a couple of different ways to give different types of grits. They include instant grits, stone-ground grits, and hominy grits.
Each of these types of grits has its peculiarities and may vary when it comes to cooking time, taste, texture, and their nutritional composition.