Whole-grain Corns: Hominy, Corn Nuts

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Common corn ingredients and foods can be divided into two general groups: those based on the whole grain, and those based on ground grain. There’s also a basic division between dry, untreated materials and “wet-processed” alkaline-treated materials.
Whole-grain versions of corn are relatively few, with popcorn by far the most common. Hominy consists of whole corn kernels, preferably white, cooked for 20–40 minutes in a solution of lime or lye, then washed of their hulls and excess alkaline solution. Hominy is used in soups (pozole), stews, and side dishes, and has a dense, chewy consistency. Corn Nuts are a familiar snack food made from the largest kernels known, the Cuzco gigante variety from Peru. The kernels are treated with alkali to remove the hulls, soaked for some hours in warm water, fried to develop color, flavor, and a crunchy texture, then flavored.