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Appalachian Vocabulary Test 13


How to use dried corn to make hominy

Making hominy is yet another way Appalachians used dried corn for food. While it was a time consuming process-it added a little variety to their daily diets. I've heard folks compare hominy to rice or grits-somehow it always reminds me of chickpeas.

Basically hominy is kernels of dried corn-that have had their outer husk removed. In the old days folks used lye to aid in removing the husk. Lye was made by pouring water over wood ashes. A recipe from The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery:

Two gallons of shelled corn are put into a large iron wash pot and 2 gallons of lye added. Then 2 gallons of water are added. More water is poured in as needed to keep the corn covered and to prevent its sticking to the bottom of the pot. The lye-corn mixture must cook until the skins start coming off the corn. This usually takes 4 to 6 hours. Stir the mixture occasionally to prevent sticking. All the corn is then removed from the pot, the lye water poured off, and the pot washed out. Thoroughly rinse the lye off the corn. Place corn back into the clean pot and cover with clear water. Boil the corn again until the skins come off completely. The hominy comes to the top of the pot and can be scooped out, ready to eat plain or fried in butter. If you want to preserve the hominy, it can be frozen or canned.

Making hominy

Granny and Pap love hominy. After they were grown and married it seemed there was never time to make hominy-so they did like most folks and bought theirs in a can at the grocery store.

One of Granny's friends gave her an easy recipe to make hominy and she's been using it ever since. The ingredients are: dried field corn, water, and baking soda.

Making hominy the easy way

First-after you have shelled your corn-you need to get the chaff off of it. Some folks take their shelled corn outside and sift it from bowl to bowl letting the wind blow away the chaff. Granny washes hers over and over and over until its clean.

Making hominy in a crock pot

Second-put the corn in a crock pot and pour water to cover it completely.

Making hominy with baking soda

Third-add 3 or 4 tablespoons of baking soda (or sodie as Granny calls it) per ear of corn you shelled. Turn the crock pot on high and let the corn mixture cook several hours. Often, Granny lets hers cook all night. (she leaves her crock pot on high and doesn't have a problem with the water cooking away-that wouldn't work in my crock pot unless I turned the heat to low. So you may have to adjust the level of heat according to how your crock pot works-there must be a good amount of water or the corn will scorch)


The corn begins to swell and the skins begin to slip off the kernels when it is done.

How do you make hominy

Fourth-this is the most labor intensive part of the process. You must wash and wash and wash the hominy in water until all the husks have been removed.

Hominy making

This is the finished product-hominy. Granny and Pap cook theirs with a little water, butter, and salt. I like mine fried in butter with salt and pepper.

By making the hominy in a crock pot-Granny doesn't have to worry about canning or freezing it-she can make a small amount or enough to last them for 2 or 3 days.

Another type of hominy you may have heard of is hominy grits. They are made the same way I've detailed-except the corn used has been cracked or coarse ground by a mill.

Have you ever eaten hominy? Do you like it?


p.s. I'm continuing my series of old recipes that used dried corn in some form-if you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them. Email me at or leave me a comment.

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Lola-good to hear from you! I think the hominy will be fine : )

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Hi I had a few questions I soaked my corn in a box of baking soda after I brought it to a boil and then let it cool and sit for over 24 hours since the skins would still not come off then I rinsed it and put it back in the stove and boiled it again for 20 min and then rinsed it again under cool water at this point the sling finally were coming off so I kept rinsing then I put it back In a clean lot of water and brought to a boil again and rinsed removing more skins. My question is I'm wondering if this is ok or if it's not safe to eat since it sat for 24 hours in baking soda. I tasted a kernel and they are not salty and don't have an odd flavor telnet tasted good. Anyone have any thoughts or comments? Help?? Thanks


I absolutely love cooking, even during these days when I spent my time on the farm. Reading this article and looking at those images reminds me of those old days.

when I was a child growing up in Roanoke in the 40's you could buy hominy flaKES AT Mick or Mack . Has anyone seen them since the 40's.

I like fried hominy with salt and black pepper and a little cayenne pepper too. Spices it up nicely. I also put cayenne pepper in my fried potatoes. xxoo

Hey Tipper, lots of interesting comments here about hominy. I seem to be in the minority. I don't like hominy, or maybe I should say I didn't like it the few times in my life that I tried it. It's possible that I never had "good" hominy so I would be willing to try it again.
Your information on how to make hominy is fascinating. It makes me wonder how they learned to make it in the first place!!

I've never eaten hominy though I've heard of it all my life.
I would love to try it atleast once.

We love hominy. All we know is the store bought canned type. I'd like to try to make it some time.
We have all the foxfire books and I'm sure I read about it at one time.
I am emailing you one of our favorite recipes for hominy. Feel free to share it.

Tipper, When I was child (around 50-55 years ago) my father's family made the biggest hominey ( and the best I've ever seen. Maybe they let it swell for a long time.

It's been a long time since I've had hominy. I really like it and think of it as being in the same category as okra - foods that are good to eat partly because of their varied textures. Mom just bought cans of it; but she must have developed her taste for it from growing up on a farm.

I grew up eating hominy, but it always came from a can. Mother heated it with butter. My oldest granddaughter loved it when she was first learning to eat, but won't touch it now.

I grew up eating it, as my family grew corn on their farm in west Texas...but I thought is was just completely different than regular corn, go figure...

Also is it not what while corn meal is made from?

You are making this food geek so happy with these posts...

Tipper: That is a process of using corn that I know nothing about. I hope it tastes better then it sounds.
I love Paul singing 'Watermelon Wine'.

Good morning, Tipper.

I love hominy, but don't eat it nearly as often as I used to.

When I was a lot younger, I used to help Mom's Dad make hominy using lye from wood ashes, but our family - like most families - switched to buying it in the can a long time ago.

In fact, since we were already boiling water, making hominy was usually combined with killing a hog. It was a busy day, making sausage, rendering lard, and cutting up pork for freezing.

I never knew you could make hominy using baking soda in a crockpot. That sounds very interesting. I'm not saying I'll do it, but I might.

Our family has eaten hominy at just about any meal with butter and salt. I like a little ground red pepper on mine.

But, our favorite way to eat hominy was to scramble it with eggs. I still love that. Add cheese if you want.

All the best,


Hi Tipper, my family and relatives have always fixed hominy, but no matter how hard I try and no matter how old I have gotten through the years, I have never acquired a taste for it. I am so interested in you old recipes in using corn. Will love reading more on it. blessings,Kathleen

WKF-the frittata sounds yummy. I would ask around your local feed or hardware store-they could probably tell you were to get some field corn or maybe even sell you some. It is the kind that folks feed their cows-you just need to make sure it hasnt been treated with anything and is for human consumption as well.

Blind Pig The Acorn

Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk

All at

Martina-Field corn is a different type than the sweet corn most of us are used to today. It dries well and therefore can be used for both animal and human consumption.

Blind Pig The Acorn

Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk

All at

Learn something new everyday, very interesting.

I love hominy and have made it the oldfashioned way for years but this sounds great. For grits I usually made the hominy and then dried and ground it. For years, when my children were growing up, I think we had corn in some form at almost every meal - cornbread, spoon bread, muffins, hoecakes, hush puppies etc, etc.

I've never heard of making it like that, Tipper. Thank you so much for the easy recipe. My mom will love it!

Hominy has long been a favorite in our house, especially for my wife, Kasie. She loves it, heated from the can with butter and salt and pepper. Uhhhm!

I didn't realize it was so relatively easy to make.

Your article reminds me that my mother used to make parched corn for us. And, she also used to fry whole kernal corn (a real special treat, fried and browned in butter).

I miss my mother's parched corn; a favorite snack and memory for all seven of us kids.

This link shows how to make it and the great pictures and words remind me a lot of your (Tipper's) articles. Sweet corn that has dried on the cob is good for parching.

I love hominy, but I don't think I've ever had homemade before!

I love hominy and I always used to get a kick out of telling my northern friends it was cooked in lye! LOL, I didn't use lye but the look on their faces :) I rarely take the time anymore because it is so time consuming, I buy the can.
I also love grits but don't eat it like a true southerner, I like mine sweet with suger and butter.

Never had hominy but may have to try it now! I do love polenta. Is field corn just corn that has been left on the stalks to dry?

Tipper -
That is so interesting that you just posted this. I tried hominy for the 1st time last week end.
I opened my cabinet and there was a can of hominy sitting there. I was all " Who are you and where did you come from? More importantly what in the heck am I going to do with you?" I asked my, absolutely unequivocally non adventurous food eating, (No experimenting for him!) husband if he bought it. I got "What the *opposite of heaven* is that ?" So this little can and I stared at each other and I said "You will be a frittata!"
So I made a mexican breakfast frittata and it was awesome!!!

I am now a hominy fan. I now need to know where do I get dried field corn. Is that a nice way to say cow corn or deer corn?

what a process. I don't think we have any idea how much less 'work' we have to do to keep a home running and a family fed these days. I am THANKFUL for modern conveniences.

I love hominy and my mom used to cook it a lot when I was growing up. I haven't had it in a long time though!

Tipper, I have never tasted hominy but would love to try it. I don't wonder that many people buy it in cans at the store now. Seems like a long process to get it clean.

Wishing you a great week.

Oh, I love hominy! I haven't had any fresh as no one I know makes it, but I will be using this to make some if we get a good corn crop in next season. We make hominy grits. The hominy is dried out and then ground and cooked as grits. In fact, I had never had just plain corn grits until moving to the city and ordering grits. They served them with savory spices and cheese! I had always eaten them with lots of butter and a little honey. Oh, and they were yellow! hehehe I couldn't find hominy grits in the store at all. I'm so happy to be home and eating real grits again. Yum! I blogged about hominy grits once. So, good.

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