Recently I did a post on nixtamalizing corn to prevent pellagra, in that post I told you how to add lime water or lye to whole corn to make Masa. Today I will post directions on how to make hominy. This is another way of Nixtamalizing corn and to liberate the B-vitamin niacin, and make it usable.
Dent, flint, white, yellow or multicolored corn work well for making hominy. Popcorn does not make hominy, though it can be ground for corn meal.
To make hominy you need lye, you can either get it at the store or make it. If you buy some make sure you get pure lye (sodium hydroxide), not drain cleaner. It is available at grocery, hardware or building supply store. Directions for making it are future down the post.
Warning: Lye, whether you make it yourself from wood ash or purchase it at a store, is very irritating to the skin and can do severe damage to eyes and throat. Always use extreme caution when handling lye. Keep it away from children. Rubber gloves and safety glasses should be worn when handling lye.
First, wash 2 quarts of shucked whole corn to get rid of dust and chaff. Use a non-reactive pot, this means cast, iron, stainless steel, and enamel coated steel or heat resistant glass. Never use aluminum, iron, tin, or Teflon. Next mix 8 quarts potable water and 2 ounces of purchased lye (about 8 – 9 teaspoons). Always add lye to water to avoid a possible violent reaction. 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. You may have to rinse several times to get rid of all the skins and lye. Float them away in the rinsing water.
Drain the hominy, rinse out the pot and put the corn back in the pot. Cover the corn with water and boil for 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.
Making lye water for hominy
If you lack store bought lye you can make your own lye water by slowly pouring rain or distilled water through hardwood ashes. You can use two plastic buckets to make your lye water processor. Take one of the buckets and punch some small holes in the bottom. Set this on top of the second bucket and put a couple of inches of straw or dried grass in the top bucket to keep the ash from going through. Fill the remainder of the bucket with clean hardwood ashes. Then slowly pour water through it. The finished lye water should be strong enough to float an egg. If your water is weak, simply run it through another bucket or boil it down to concentrate it.
To make hominy, put 1 gallons of lye water, 2 quarts of dry corn, and 1 additional gallon of plain potable water in a large non-reactive pot. Simmer the corn kernel until the skins start to slip off. Drain, rinse and rub the corn through 4 cycles of fresh water to get the lye out. Once the skins are off the corn and the lye is washed out the hominy is ready to use.
Hominy can be made directly from wood ash. Simple put two double handfuls of clean hardwood ashes into 2 to 3 quarts of clean water. Boil the ashes for 1 hour, periodically adding water. Then let it set all night for the ashes to settle. In the morning, pour the liquid off the ashes and add dried corn in the water. Cook until the skins come off the corn and the color brightens, this takes about 1-2 hours. Rinse and rub in 3 changes of water. Use the fresh hominy right away or preserve for later.
Hominy can be eaten many ways depending on your tastes. Boiled until soft with salt and buttered is a good way to begin. You can add hominy to chili or stews or sauté it in bacon fat. It can be frozen, canned or dehydrated so that you can add it to your storage