Food for Thought: Hominy

Hominy kernels

What is hominy?

Hominy is a staple in many Mexican & Southern recipes and used in many of our dishes at Tupelo. Hominy is simply corn kernels that have undergone a process called nixtamalization. The kernels are soaked in either lye or lime (the mineral, not the citrus) which causes them to puff up to about twice their normal size and shed their hull and germ.

The nixtamalization process is believed to have been used by Native Americans as early as 1500 B.C. (that’s over 3,500 years ago)!

You can find canned hominy at your local supermarket, or you can attempt to make your own at home using yellow or white maize (field corn).

What does hominy taste like?

Hominy relies heavily on seasonings and other ingredients for flavor. It is otherwise a mild, if not flavorless, pantry staple. It is not meant to be eaten by the spoonful on its own, but as the base for or an addition to a variety of dishes.

What are the health benefits of hominy?

Health and processed foods rarely go hand-in-hand, but hominy is one of the exceptions. The ancient nixtamalization process actually increases the health benefits of hominy. These benefits include:

  • Low in calories, sugar, and fat
  • Naturally gluten-free
  • High in vitamin B and fiber

It’s no wonder this super-food has been a staple for centuries!

Corn tortillas

How do I cook with hominy?

Hominy can be dehydrated and ground up to make grits or masa for corn tortillas and tamales. It can also be used as a thickening agent in soups, stews, and casseroles. You can even cook it like a can of beans and eat it as a side dish.

Basically, hominy can be used as a corn or bean substitute in most recipes while standing on its own as a unique ingredient that is inexpensive and nutritious. This is why we love adding hominy to our Southern-inspired recipes!

We’re all about using fresh, interesting ingredients. Make a reservation today to visit your nearest Tupelo location and taste our Southern-inspired menu!