Grits a Southern Food that Will be Good for hard Times

I am always looking for new ways to use foods that are easy to grow and prepare.  I recently become interested in grits.  Now grits are very popular in the South, two thirds of the ones sold in the U.S are sold in the south.

The Native Americans were using grits long before the white man arrived.  Grits are small broken grains of corn.  There are basically two types  “corn” grits and “hominy” grits.

In the past, I have put up a post on making hominy, but never on corn grits.  Hominy is made from field corn that is soaked in lye water (potash water in the old days) and stirred over the next day or two until the entire shell or bran comes loose and rises to the top.  You can see my post Making Hominy is Easy and Inexpensive.

But for today, we are going to talk about corn grits.  Traditionally, the corn for grits was ground on a stone mill.  The ground corn is then passed through screens, the finer sifted material used as corn meal, and the coarser as grits.

Now they are easy to cook.  Today many people use the packaged instant ones, but we are going to talk about the non-instant that you can produce yourself.  First start out by bring at least 4 cups of water to a boil for every cup of grits.  Now take the grits that you have from your grinder and add to the water and simmer from 30 – 40 minutes or until they are soft.  They expand when cooked and need periodic stirring to prevent sticking, and lumps from forming.

Grits are most often served seasoned with salt and pepper, as well as generous amounts of butter as a breakfast food.  They can also be served with grated cheese, sausage, bacon, or red-eye gravy or even eaten just plain.  They were widely used by the poor in the south as a staple.  While they are a good healthy food you need to be aware of one major shortcoming, they need to be treated to liberate b vitamins.  Lack of b vitamins can result in pellagra.  Here are two posts on it. Pellagra and How to Treat Corn to Prevent It  and Nixtamalizing Corn to Prevent Pellagra

Here a couple of recipes for fancy grits you may like

Grits with Cheddar, Chives and Scrambled Eggs

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup 2 percent milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grits
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons 2 percent milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 8 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons sliced fresh chives

Bring water, milk and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in grits. Reduce heat, and cook until it thickens, stirring constantly so that there are no lumps.

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat.  Combine eggs, milk and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well.  Add oil to the pan. Add egg mixture; cook.

Spoon 1 cup grits into each of 4 bowls. Top each bowl with 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese, one-fourth of eggs and 1-tablespoon chives.

Sausage and Sweet Corn Grits

  • 3 cups water
  • 1-cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-cup grits
  • 8 ounces sausage
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels

Bring water, milk and salt to a boil in a large saucepan.  Gradually stir in grits. Reduce heat, and cook until it thickens, stirring constantly so that there are no lumps.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and corn; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Spoon 1-cup grits into each of 4 bowls.  Top each bowl with about 1/2 cup sausage mixture.

This is some good eating.  Grits are an interesting food that can be very basic and can be eaten like any porridge or cereal or they can be used as part of a fancier meal.  During the Civil War and the depression they were a good hard times food.


4 thoughts on “Grits a Southern Food that Will be Good for hard Times”

  1. Thanks Howard

    If one has a grinder that can make corn grits you can also make wheat or rye grits. I’ve done it using my old Corona style grinder. Wheat grits taste different than corn grits BUT they are good when cooked using recipes such as those you posted for corn grits.

    Hangtown Frank

  2. Shirley Toney

    Grits are a wonderful breakfast food but won’t store very long. I have bought corn and a wheat grinder to grind some grits to eat.

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