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Old 03-28-2019, 04:22 PM   #1
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Cornmeal

I am trying to get my head around cornmeals. I think Iíve got most understood but donít get the difference between Masa Harina and Hominy Grits. Both definitions are the same? Help!

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Old 03-28-2019, 05:16 PM   #2
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Like you, I can't really get around all the different corn meals ...

but... I believe that Masa is like a flour texture and grits are coarser.

another but... don't quote me
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Old 03-28-2019, 05:33 PM   #3
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Cornmeal is dried, ground corn. It's used primarily for corn bread. It's basically the same as polenta and can also be used to make that. Sometimes you'll see both cornmeal and polenta on the package.

Corn flour is dried, finely ground corn. It can used in the dredge for frying fish and seafood like clams.

Masa harina is corn that is treated with lime (nixtamalization), then dried and finely ground. It's used for tamales and tortillas. Nixtamalization softens the hull and makes it easier to remove. Other chemical changes allow it to hold together as a dough with just water, and allow the niacin (Vitamin B3) to be more easily absorbed by the body.
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Old 03-28-2019, 05:52 PM   #4
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Thank you for your response. Yes, I agree with all you said but homey grits (not corn grits) is made from corn processed the same way Masa Harina is processed. Either they are the same with just different names or there is a difference that I am unaware of.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:31 PM   #5
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The hominy, if ground up finer is similar to masa harina, but the flavor is milder. I think, though don't quote me, the Mexican nixtamalization is done with calcium hydroxide - sold as cal in Mexican groceries - while the American version is done with sodium hydroxide, or lye. Since lye is a more powerful alkali, the hull is removed much faster, and probably the corn not being in the solution for as long, results in the milder, but similar flavor. In some of her earlier books, Diana Kennedy said to grind some hominy briefly in a blender to make a coarser, masa like meal, to make tamales. Now, a coarser masa is widely available for making tamales. I have often used that for making cornbread, when serving it with a Mexican or Tex-Mex dish.

Speaking of cornmeal, what is that sticky substance in cornmeal that comes through plastic bags, and I even remember coming through the old Tupperware containers, in my Mom's kitchen! It's not just oil - a lot of things have oil in them, and this is the only one it happens with, that I have seen. I keep it in glass jars, or foodsaver bags (never had it happen with these), in the freezer, since I don't use it much, and it does go rancid.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:49 AM   #6
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Thank you for your response. Yes, I agree with all you said but homey grits (not corn grits) is made from corn processed the same way Masa Harina is processed. Either they are the same with just different names or there is a difference that I am unaware of.
Sorry, I guess I lost track of your question Pepperhead is right - hominy grits is finely ground hominy.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:56 AM   #7
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Not an answer, but this video just hit YouTube, and it shows the Nixtamalization process used to make fresh masa for tortillas. I was amazed at how flexible and stretchy the tortillas turn out when made this way.



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Old 03-29-2019, 11:24 AM   #8
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Is there a time limit within which to reply to responses

New to this message board. Above I don't see how I can respond to responses.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:55 AM   #9
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Sorry, I guess I lost track of your question Pepperhead is right - hominy grits is finely ground hominy.

I have been getting conflicting info as to which is a finer grind Masa Harina or Hominy Grits.
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:40 PM   #10
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I have been getting conflicting info as to which is a finer grind Masa Harina or Hominy Grits.

I think we could help you better if you shared why this question is important to you?
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:49 PM   #11
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Masa harina is the finer ground one. Grits are usually coarse, like polenta, some coarser than others. I think the "quick" hominy grits are finer than the regular, which is very coarse. It's all precooked, in the nixtamalization process, so that's not what makes them quick, as with bulghur.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:50 PM   #12
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I think we could help you better if you shared why this question is important to you?

I am just trying to learn what the different variations of cornmeal are available.
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Old 03-30-2019, 12:57 AM   #13
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I am just trying to learn what the different variations of cornmeal are available.
I think that the answers are mostly there in this thread, but you may have to weed through the rest of us muddying up the water.

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Old 03-30-2019, 01:12 AM   #14
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Not to mention each manufacturer will put their own spin on various names
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Old 03-30-2019, 05:46 AM   #15
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New to this message board. Above I don't see how I can respond to responses.
Click on the "quote" button. A window will open at the bottom. It will have what you want to respond to at the bottom of the page. When you are done, click on the "submit reply" button.
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Old 03-30-2019, 12:21 PM   #16
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Masa harina is the finer ground one. Grits are usually coarse, like polenta, some coarser than others. I think the "quick" hominy grits are finer than the regular, which is very coarse. It's all precooked, in the nixtamalization process, so that's not what makes them quick, as with bulghur.

Do quick grits have less nutritional value than regular grits?
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Old 03-30-2019, 04:01 PM   #17
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Not an answer, but this video just hit YouTube, and it shows the Nixtamalization process used to make fresh masa for tortillas. I was amazed at how flexible and stretchy the tortillas turn out when made this way.



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The best tacos I ever had were at a place called The Treat in Great Falls, Montana, many years ago. They made their own tortillas, and they were flexible rather than crisp. I hate when a tortilla crumbles into a handful of chips and filling with the first bite.

These ones at The Treat had a tender but sort of leathery texture - you could wrap and hold them together right to the last bite, but they were real corn tortillas, not flour. They had very good homemade hot sauce too, really unexpected in central Montana back in the '60s. There were no other Mexican foods in town.

That was the first Mexican restaurant I ever ate at. Where I grew up in Minnesota, they had never heard of Mexican as a food genre back then.
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Old 03-30-2019, 05:23 PM   #18
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I too am a fan of the pliable tortillas. We have many stores that make their own. I love to buy a package of about ten and saute them in butter. I am not a bread eater, so these tortillas hit the spot. And excellent replacement for the bread.

I have a package of them in the fridge right now. And my daughter for my birthday, bought me a large container of lobster claws. I am torn between using the tortillas or making the tradition roll with a hot dog bun. I already have the lobster meat mixed with mayo, celery and onion. All it is waiting for is the container to put it in. I just might make one of each.
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