Round 500 years in the past corn (or maize) was launched to Europe by means of the Columbian Trade with Mesoamerica. It rapidly took maintain as a staple crop in locations like Italy and Spain which have been subsequently inundated with an epidemic of the vitamin-B deficiency Pellagra. Over the subsequent 200 years, docs have been stumped as to the trigger, with many theorizing that it was as a consequence of a toxin within the corn that their sufferers have been consuming. However we now know that the true reason behind the illness was their lack of know-how on tips on how to correctly course of corn for optimum diet.
The indigenous peoples of Southern Mexico who first bred corn from a wild grass developed the method of cooking it in an alkaline answer which unlocks vitamins like vitamin B that aren’t bioavailable in uncooked corn. This course of is named nixtamalization. The phrase “nixtamal” comes from a mix of the Nahuatl phrases for “lime ashes” and “corn dough” which describes the unique technique of making the alkaline answer utilizing hardwood ashes to boost the pH of the water.
As we speak, most nixtamalized corn is processed utilizing calcium hydroxide which is bought as “pickling lime” within the US. Nixtamalized corn is just not solely extra nutritious than uncooked corn, nevertheless it additionally has a singular taste and texture that lends itself nicely to creating tortillas, corn chips, tamales, and extra. This course of may sound just a little bit intimidating, nevertheless it’s actually quite simple. Learn on to learn to course of your very personal nixtamal so you possibly can impress your family and friends with a pile of selfmade tortillas!
Pickling Lime (Calcium Hydroxide) Nixtamal
As soon as the hulls are eliminated, you might be left with clear nixtamal or hominy which is able to use nevertheless you want!
As I discussed above, the primary folks to nixtamalize corn did so utilizing wooden ashes. In my expertise, this technique makes a huge mess, and you find yourself with the identical product because the pickling lime model. However it may be a enjoyable undertaking for people seeking to join with the previous methods.
Your wooden ash nixtamal/hominy ought to have a scrumptious corny-smoky odor and can lend itself rather well to tortillas and tamales.