Nixtamalized Corn

Nixtamalized Corn

This preparation of corn was called nocake or nookick by early colonists. The process is alkaline treatment of corn kernels to release nutrients which are readily digested.”It is Indian corn parched in the hot ashes, the ashes being sifted from it; it is afterwards beaten to powder and put into a long leather bag trussed at the Indian’s back like a knapsack, out of which they take three spoonfuls a day.”

It was held to be the most nourishing food known, and in the smallest and most condensed form. Both Indians and white men usually carried it in a pouch when they went on long journeys, and mixed it with snow in the winter and water in summer. Gookin says it was sweet, toothsome, and hearty. With only this nourishment the Indians could carry loads “fitter for elephants than men.”

Nixtamalized Corn
Modern Method of making Nocake or Nookick or Masa. Recently, food scientists have found that this process, called nixtamalization, increases the bio-availability of both protein and niacin, and radically reduces the toxins often found in moldy corn. The resulting dough, called masa, is the basis for corn tortillas, chips, tamales and other specialty corn foods. Whole corn that has been nixtamalized is called hominy or posole, while the ground form is called masa.
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2 pounds clean, dried flour-corn kernels (about 1 quart) Dent corn or field corn
1/4 cup pickling lime (food-grade calcium hydroxide)
3 quarts water

Rinse the corn in a colander and set aside. In a large, stainless steel (nonreactive) pot, dissolve the lime in the water. Immediately wash off any lime that gets on your hands. Add the corn and discard any floating kernels. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cool the pot and let it sit, uncovered, for 4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. Pour the corn into a colander in the sink. With the cold water running, rub the kernels between your hands to rub away the softened hulls (they will have a gelatinous texture). Rinse thoroughly (some old recipes say to wash between 4 and 11 times). Drain well. Use the whole, moist kernels in soups or stews. Or, grind them through a food mill able to handle moist kernels to make masa, to which you can add enough water to make a slightly sticky dough for making tamales or, using a tortilla press, tortillas. Promptly refrigerate any unused masa, and use it within 3 days.

Where to buy ingredients for processing corn as per mostly Mexican Food. 2 June 2014 Field or Dent corn Pickling Lime
Pickling Lime is a common name for Hydrated Lime which is Food Grade Calcium Hydroxide. Item: 4330

Where to buy if desired commercially.

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