Almost every country and culture in the world makes use of corn in their recipes. It is easy to grow and cheap to purchase and store making it a staple grain in many recipes. It is especially common in Latin America where it is used to make tortillas, a staple carbohydrate in most Latin American households.
What some people don’t know is that there are multiple types of corn. You can get seed corn, corn flour, fresh corn, and even something called corn hominy.
Corn hominy is a special type of corn that originated in Latin America and is common in many of their traditional dishes. It goes through a special process called being nixtamalized which causes the kernels to puff up and become chewy. It also preserves them.
What is Hominy Used For?
Another common question that people have when it comes to frozen hominy is how is it used. After all, it is a pretty uncommon ingredient in most European and Northern American recipes. However, it is one of the most used ingredients in many Latin American dishes.
One of the most popular uses for frozen hominy is as a main ingredient in pozole. Pozole is a traditional Mexican dish that has a spicy broth and contains a mixture of chicken, pork, and a generous amount of hominy. When cooked in the broth they have a chewy texture and are a very filling food.
They are preferred in soups because, as opposed to other types of corn, the kernels are larger and don’t disappear in the shadow of the other ingredients.
Although it is a staple because of its flavor, that doesn’t mean that frozen hominy is lacking in health benefits. There are two particular health benefits that you’ll receive if you eat frozen hominy regularly: fiber and B vitamins.
Frozen hominy, like most whole grains, contains a lot of fiber. This is necessary to keep your digestive system healthy and working as it should. If you do not consume enough fiber on a daily basis you might suffer from indigestion and constipation.
Just one cup of hominy contains about 17% of the amount of fiber that you need. With its amazing flavor and versatility in recipes, chances are you won’t be sticking to just one cup meaning that you’ll get a lot of fiber in one healthy meal.
Another health benefit that frozen hominy offers is its B vitamin content. It contains a lot of B vitamins but especially vitamin B3, also known as niacin. This is the vitamin that helps your body convert food to energy and is essential for your overall health. It can also help to improve your overall skin health which causes some people to supplement with it.
In terms of its nutritional content, a cup of cooked hominy (154g) contains approximately:
- Calories: 119
- Protein: 3.4g
- Fat: 0.6g
- Carbohydrates: 25.1g
- Fiber: 4.2g
- Sugar: 1.1g
Overall, this makes it a good option to include healthy carbohydrates in your diet without too much added sugar. It has decently high protein but when combined with meat, as it usually is, you’ll get an even higher protein content. Eat some beans on the side and you’ll have a balanced and delicious meal to get you through the day.
When eaten in appropriate amounts frozen hominy can be a great part of a healthy diet. The one thing that you’ll want to consider is that while non-processed hominy does not contain high levels of sodium, some canned versions do. In these cases, you’ll want to make sure you monitor the levels of sodium in your hominy and adjust the added salt accordingly.
Properly Storing and Freezing Hominy
To keep your hominy fresh as long as possible you will want to store it properly. Proper storage of this food will vary depending on what type of hominy you’ve purchased. Dried hominy will need to be stored in a different way than canned hominy.
If you are looking to keep your hominy fresh for as long as possible you may want to consider freezing it. Freezing your hominy will keep it fresh, but you may experience some negative effects in terms of the texture and flavor.
Pros of Freezing Hominy
Freezing hominy has several advantages over storing it in the refrigerator or pantry:
- Longer shelf life: Freezing hominy can extend its shelf life beyond what is possible with refrigeration or room temperature storage.
- Convenience: Frozen hominy can be thawed and used as needed, making it a convenient ingredient for busy cooks.
- Easy storage: Frozen hominy can be stored in the freezer in a variety of containers, including plastic bags, airtight containers, or even ice cube trays, making it easy to store and portion out as needed.
Cons to Freezing Hominy
Although the pros to freezing hominy sound pretty appealing, there are also several cons that you should consider before deciding whether or not to freeze it.
- Texture changes: Freezing and thawing can cause the texture of hominy to change, making it softer or mushier than fresh or canned hominy.
- Flavor changes: Freezing can also affect the flavor of hominy, causing it to lose some of its natural sweetness and flavor.
- Risk of freezer burn: If hominy is not properly stored in an airtight container, it can develop freezer burn, which can affect its texture and flavor.
Hominy Storage Process
The exact storage process will vary depending on the exact form that you have purchased your hominy in. You can either store it in the pantry, in the fridge, or in the freezer. The best method will vary based on how long you need to keep your hominy fresh for and if it is already hydrated.
Storing Dried Hominy
If you decide to store dried hominy you won’t need to keep it in the fridge or freezer. However, there are still some things that you should keep in mind to keep it as fresh as possible.
Here are some of the most important things to consider when storing your dried hominy.
- Store in a cool, dry place: Dried hominy should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from heat and moisture. A pantry or cupboard is a good choice, as long as it is not too close to the stove or any other heat source.
- Use airtight containers: Transfer the dried hominy to an airtight container, such as a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid or a plastic container with a snap-on lid. This will help keep out moisture and pests, which can spoil the hominy.
- Label and date: Be sure to label the container with the date of purchase, so you can keep track of how long the hominy has been stored.
Storing Fresh Hominy
When you are storing fresh hominy you can either keep it in the fridge or the freezer. The fridge is best if you are only storing it for a short period of time whereas the freezer is best if you need it to last for several weeks.
- Cool it down: If you’ve just finished cooking hominy you’ll want to make sure that it is fully cooled down before moving on to the next step. If you’re moving it straight from the can then room temperature is fine.
- Transfer to an airtight container: Once the hominy is cool, transfer it to an airtight container. A plastic container with a tight-fitting lid or a resealable plastic bag works well. Make sure the container is completely sealed to prevent air and moisture from getting in.
- Label and date: Label the container with the date you cooked the hominy, so you can keep track of how long it has been in the refrigerator. Cooked hominy can last in the refrigerator for up to five days.
If you’d like to store your hominy in the freezer, the process is slightly different.
- Cool it down: The same concept applies here as it did to storing hominy in the fridge. Make sure that it has reached at least room temperature before you store it in the freezer.
- Portion the hominy: Divide the hominy into portions that you’ll be able to use in one go. This will make it easier to defrost and reduce waste. You can use small freezer bags to do this or small containers. Just make sure that they seal fully to keep the harsh freezer air out.
- Label and date: Label each container or bag with the date and the portion size, so you can keep track of what you have and when you froze it.
- Remove air: If you’re using plastic bags, press out as much air as possible before sealing. This will help prevent freezer burn and keep the hominy fresh.
- Freeze: Place the containers or bags of hominy in the freezer. Make sure to leave some space between them to allow air to circulate.
Best Hominy Recipes
There are multiple fantastic ways for you to enjoy hominy. A lot of the most popular ways to eat it comes from a Latin American background, but you can feel free to add hominy to whatever dish you’d like. That’s the best part about cooking, you’re free to experiment with flavors and combine the ones that you think are best.
Soups and Stews
As was previously mentioned, soup is one of the most popular ways to heat hominy. Hominy is a popular ingredient in soups and stews, such as posole, which is a traditional Mexican soup made with hominy, meat, and vegetables. However, you’re not limited to just Mexican stews. If you want, you can even add hominy to chili as a replacement for regular corn.
Salads are another great way to enjoy hominy and can help to make a salad into a full meal with all the carbs and calories necessary to keep you satisfied for hours. Try mixing it with some taco meat, tostadas, throw some Mexican-style salsa or picante on top, and you’ll have an authentic Mexican-style taco salad.
One more way that you can eat hominy is as a breakfast food. What a lot of people don’t know is that grits, a popular food in the Southern United States, are actually made from dried hominy grits. You’ll simply get hominy, grind it up, then simmer it until it has softened and gotten the right texture and consistency.
Grits are a great food because you can mix them with a lot of other flavors. You can add everything from bacon and eggs to just a bit of butter and cream for a super simple breakfast. Some people even like to make shrimp and grits, a southern classic.
Although hominy is not a popular food in all parts of the world, it is widely available and can make a very nutritious ingredient in a variety of meals. Traditionally, hominy is used in many Mexican and Latin American dishes however, you can add it to just about anything.
If you have purchased dried hominy, all you’ll need to do is keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If you have fresh hominy you’ll want to store it in either the refrigerator or the freezer in an airtight container. Doing this will keep the hominy fresh for as long as possible.