Traditional Hominy/ Bnegzegen
Hominy can be made from any large kernel corn; flint corn, field corn, maize, etc. I try to always grow traditional Indigenous corn from Strawberry Corn to Walpole Island Corn and this year I will be processing Walpole Island corn into hominy.
The process of making Hominy is called nixtamalization. Nixtamalization is a process for the preparation of corn/maize, or other grain, in which the corn is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, traditionally sifted hardwood ash, washed, and then hulled. Nixtamalized maize has several benefits over unprocessed grain; It is more easily ground, its nutritional value is increased, flavor and aroma are improved, and mycotoxins are reduced. The wood ash loosens the hulls from the kernels and softens the maize. Corn's hemicellulose-bound niacin is converted to free niacin, vitamin B3), making it available for absorption into the body. In a nutshell, nixtamalization makes the corn entirely digestible and frees up all of the vitamin A and B that normally wouldn't be digested.
Traditionally, hominy is made with hard wood ash. You can use just about any hardwood such as oak, maple, hickory, cherry, etc.. and for every 1-2 quarts of dried corn you'll want 2 cups of sifted ash.
There's several ways you can preserve the hominy after you've made it. I like to bottle it and use my pressure canner however you can also freeze it until you're ready to use it. Prepared hominy can also be dried again and made into corn nuts or ground into corn flour.
1-2 quarts of dried corn separated from the cob
2 Cups of sifted hard wood ash
Stainless steel pot and wooden spoon
freezer containers or bags if freezing
4-6 quart jars and lids and salt if bottling with a pressure canner
Put the corn into a large pot and add enough water to cover the corn by at least 4 inches.
Stir in 2 C of sifted hard wood ash and stir with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and lightly boil for 2-4 hours depending on the type of corn you're using. Add water as needed, check your water level often. **Flint or maize can take up to 4 hours for the kernel to soften, small corn like Walpole Island corn only takes 2 hours. You'll know it's completed this stage when you can see the kernel skins start to slip off.
Using a colander or sieve, drain the hominy and rinse well in clean water.
Return the hominy to a clean pot and fill with water to again be 4-6 inches above the hominy. Bring to a boil for 30 minutes
Again drain and rinse the hominy. Gently massage the hominy to separate the skins and remove.
Return the hominy again to a clean pot and fill with water. Boil again for 30 minutes, remove any floating skins with a strainer or slotted spoon.
One last rinse and inspection under clean water to make sure all skins are removed.
You have hominy!
Freezing: As soon as you're finished the final rinse you can put the hominy into freezer containers or bags, label, and keep in your freezer until ready for use.
Corn-Nuts: As soon as you're finished the final rinse let drain and dry as much as you can in the colander. In a large bowl gently toss the hominy in sunflower oil, salt, pepper, and any seasonings of your choice. Lay out the hominy on a gently oiled or parchment paper lined cooking sheet. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 60-90 minutes or until thoroughly dried and crunchy.
Canning: Using a pressure canner only. Fill sterilized quart jars 1/2 - 2/3 of the way full of hominy. Add one teaspoon of salt and fill the jar with boiling water leaving an inch of headspace. Top with heated lids and place in your canner. Process at 10 PSI for 70 minutes or per your pressure canner instructions.