The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “grain”

About Hominy and Nixtamalization

Daniel Delaney talks about hominy and nixtamalization and gives a pozole recipe. The mistake he makes though is the one I made of associating hominy only with Southern and Mexican cooking.

It turns out that making hominy is something that Native people throughout N. America (examples, Chippewa, Iroquois, Cherokee…) did/do — not nixtamalizing corn (which increases the nutritional value of the corn and makes the niacin in the corn available to us), for those tribes that used the grain as a staple, would have been disastrous.

There are a few different methods of making hominy using “field” or “flint” corn.

Here the derelictepistle shows us how to make hominy using the wood ash (lye) method. [I’ve read that the wood ash actually gives a mix of a larger percentage of potassium hydroxide to sodium hydroxide. The lye you buy in the store will be pure sodium hydroxide.]

In this video, Culinary Institute of America Chef Instructor Iliana de la Vega demonstrates the traditional Mexican method of nixtamalization (using lime or calcium oxide), making masa for corn tortillas.

Chef Iliana mentions that the calcium oxide becomes calcium hydroxide as it mixes with the water – so a caustic substance, similar to the lye.

Here’s Howard Kimewon on the Fond du Lac Chippewa reservation in Minnesota talking about making Hominy Soup (Banagaziiganaboke). He uses dried sweet corn that he grows himself and wood ash to make his hominy.

Howard soaks his corn in a solution of hardwood ashes and cold water for two or three days. He stirs it periodically. Then he dries the treated corn slowly so it doesn’t shrivel up. Howard says that the benefit of preprocessing the corn in the wood ash solution is that the cooking time in the lye solution is lessened (so three hours cooking time for the “preprocessed” corn versus six or seven hours cooking time for unprocessed corn).

Apparently, you can also make hominy with other alkali solutions. I found a tutorial on making hominy with baking soda. The author notes that processing the corn takes longer (you soak the corn overnight in baking soda and water and then simmer for four to sixteen hours in the solution). The advantage the author writes is that baking soda is less caustic than lye so there is little risk if you don’t rinse your hominy properly.


Growing Rice

A look at the Lundberg Family Farms’ rice growing operation in California. I had no idea that they sow rice from the air.

On the Isbell Family Rice Farm in Arkansas they grow a Japanese variety of rice called Koshihikari for export to that country.

Christian Richard, a rice farmer in Louisiana balances growing rice and raising crayfish.

Make Malt Sugar/Syrup

The most common grain to malt (which just means that the grain is sprouted, so that the sprouting process converts the grain’s starch into a sugar) is barley – but other grains like corn, wheat, etc. can also be malted.

The sprouted (malted) grain is then mixed with hot water in a container so that its sugars can leach into the water. The malt sugar water or wort can then be used to make beer or cooked down to a syrup for use as a sweetener.

The sprouting process is pretty straightforward and easy.

Here’s dmeckle showing you his method:

Here’s a step-by-step that includes the wort stage.

I don’t brew beer, but I do use barley malt syrup as a sweetener. As I’m already comfortable with sprouting, this should be an easy and cheaper way for our household to have the syrup.

Growing Sorghum

This video has us meeting the Simonsens, in Nebraska, who grow sorghum. They use no-till rotational planting. They mill sorghum flour themselves and sell it direct through mail order. The grit left over from the milling gets fed to their livestock.

Growing Grain On Your Farm to Combat High Grain Prices

Learn about what Organic Dairy farmers in Vermont are doing to combat high grain prices by growing their own grains.

Simple Grain Mill

Farley Anderson demonstrates a variation on a mortar and pestle grain mill, build using 3 metal pipes wired or taped together and a large metal can. He notes that the pipes allow for airflow that reduces scattering each time you hit the grain.

In Africa, where using a mortar and pestle is a traditional way to pound grain they mitigate this problem by using a tall mortar.

I would wonder how quickly Anderson’s design would allow you to mill the grain – or how finely – since the actual striking area of the pipes would be small.

Hand Grain Mill from Aaron Mackley on Vimeo.

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