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Pioneer Cooking: Homemade Hominy

Pioneers had to use recipes that utilized the ingredients most available to them. Corn was an ingredient widely available, beginning when the Native Americans showed the Pilgrims how to raise it as a crop. But, since refrigeration didn't come along until the 20th century, other ways of preserving food was developed. One of these ways included drying.

Dried foods can become tough if they are not prepared properly. A favorite way to use dried corn ... aside from cornmeal ... was a dish called hominy. Hominy is still eaten today, however it is not as common as it once was.

Ingredients:

2 qts. dry field corn
8 qts. water
2 oz. lye
t. salt to a pint jar
12 sterilized pint jars

Traditional Directions:

Place corn, water, and lye in an enameled kettle and boil vigorously (best done outside because of the fumes) for hour, then let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse several times with hot water (the rinsing is a very important process), then rinse with cool water until you can handle the hominy to rub off the dark tips of the kernals. Float away the tips. Add water to cover hominy one inch and boil five minutes. Drain and repeat four times, then cook hour, or until kernals are tender. Pack in jars to 1/2" of top, add salt, cover with boiling water, adjust lids, and process in pressure canner, 60 minutes. This recipe will yield 12 pints of hominy.

NOTE: You can find canned hominy in the vegetable section of your grocery store if you want to taste it without the hassle of canning your own.

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