Q. Is hominy healthy? I know it’s made from corn, but I can’t seem to find an answer on whether it’s a whole grain or not. I’ve also read that it’s sometimes soaked in lye, which can’t be good for us, right? Anyway, I have a delicious sounding chili recipe that calls for it, but I wasn’t sure what to think.
A. Hominy is made by soaking certain types of corn (usually a field corn, not the sweet corn we eat on the cob) in an alkaline solution. This process is called nixtamalization.
Not only is this not harmful but it actually improves the nutritional value of the grain, by making the B vitamins more available and adding substantial calcium.DYK? Soaking corn in lime to make hominy or masa increases its nutritional value. Click To Tweet
Like corn, hominy can be eaten as a whole kernel form or dried and finely ground. Ground corn flour is called cornmeal. Ground hominy is called grits or masa. Although a bit of the hull is lost during nixtamalization, hominy is still considered to be a whole grain food.
Corn and hominy are pretty close nutritionally: mostly starch, some protein, not much fat, a smattering of vitamins and minerals. As with corn, yellow hominy is likely to be somewhat higher in antioxidants than white.
Although it probably won’t be the nutritional highlight of the meal, I wouldn’t think twice about including it in a recipe. As with corn, I’d think of hominy more as a starch or grain than as a vegetable.