Who doesn’t love hominy? It is one of the most popular ingredients in soups, stews, tamales, tortillas, and so much more! But is hominy gluten free? You need to know the answer if you have celiac disease or if you’re sensitive to gluten.
Hominy is produced by nixtamalization of corn kernels, usually with lime. So it is naturally gluten-free. But the chance of cross-contamination is there if the process is not done in gluten-free facilities. Hominy variants with additives may also contain gluten.
Gluten is not the only concern in hominy. Many brands also use other substances in it to boost its aroma, flavor, and size. And if you relish hominy but are seriously allergic to gluten, this article will clear all your doubts. So, read on!
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Is Hominy Gluten Free?
Hominy is made of corn kernels, and like all variants of kernels, it is also naturally gluten-free. Hominy is typically made with a nixtamalization process where dried corn kernels are soaked in lime or lye water. These alkaline agents, too, are gluten free. It is incredibly healthy in its actual form. Besides, it is also larger and more aromatic than regular corn kernels.
Although corn kernels are naturally gluten-free, the chance of cross-contamination is always there. So, you need to make sure that the manufacturer of hominy is processing it in an entire gluten-free facility. Besides, you also need to check the label to be sure about the gluten ingredients in other ingredients, such as flavoring agents and preservatives.
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What Is Hominy?
Now you know if hominy is gluten free or not. You need to have a clear understanding of what hominy actually is! It is a very common ingredient in Mexican cuisine, where it is extensively used to prepare soups, casseroles, and even desserts. Due to its unusual sweet and earthy taste, hominy can instantly twist your tastebuds.
Corn kernels first go through the nixtamalization process that was first developed in Mesoamerica. In this process, kernels are first soaked in alkaline solutions, such as limewater (calcium hydroxide) or lye water (potassium hydroxide). And then, it is extensively washed and thoroughly dried to further decrease the moisture content.
In the modern industrial process, corn kernels are first cooked in limewater or lye, a strong alkaline solution. And then, it goes through a thorough washing process, where most manufacturers wash their kernels at least twice. Then the soaked and rinsed kernels go through a drying process to reduce the moisture content.
The chemical change that occurs in the nixtamalization process increases the size, flavor, taste, and aroma of the corn kernels. Besides, it also increases its calcium content, which will help your body to better absorb vitamin B3 (niacin). Hominy is easily digestible as well.
As we have already said, corn kernels go through nixtamalization, which changes their chemical properties. And for that, the nutritional value is vastly different from the regular kernels. A cup of typical homestyle hominy has the following nutritional value.
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Hominy kernels lose some fiber content naturally present in corn during the cooking process. It loses sodium and fat content as well. And a cup of cooked hominy has 152 calories with 2 grams of fiber. It is also extremely low in sugar and fat.
People in ancient Mesoamerica first developed the technique to make hominy through the nixtamalization process. The Lacandon Maya people who lived in the lowlands of eastern Chiapas derived the caustic powder for nixtamalization by toasting shells on fire for several hours.
People who lived in the Yucatán Peninsula, especially in the Petén Basin and Belize Valley, started using limestone to make slaked lime mix for the nixtamalization process. Ancient Mayan people took this process a step forward and introduced bacteria to create sourdough.
They then ferment the whole mix to make beers that quite resemble the taste and aroma of chicha. But nowadays, the industrial process is vastly different. Most manufacturers now prefer the artificial process of soaking and drying the corn kernels to make hominy. Besides lime, lye water is a popular alkaline agent to make hominy.
Gluten Free Hominy Brands
Suppose you are seriously allergic to gluten or have celiac disease. In that case, you need to be extra cautious while consuming hominy, even in small quantities. That’s because the chance of cross-contamination during the industrial manufacturing process is always there. Some additives may also add gluten to hominy.
However, there are four hominy brands now readily available in the consumer market that are officially certified as gluten-free and safe for celiac patients.
La Preferida White Hominy: One of the most popular US brands, La Preferida currently manufactures delicious white hominy. A serving (half cup) of this hominy has just 80 calories, with 16 grams of carbohydrate, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of protein, and just 1 gram of fat.
Juanita’s Mexican Style Hominy: This hominy now comes typically in a 6.6 lb. can without any chemical content or preservative. A single serving (half cup) of this hominy has just 90 calories without any trace of saturated fat or cholesterol. Besides, it has 18 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein, 22 mg of calcium, and 24 mg of potassium.
Kroger White Hominy: Although it is not officially certified as gluten free, this hominy doesn’t have gluten ingredients in it. Besides, it is manufactured in gluten free facilities. A single serving (half cup) of this hominy has 90 calories with 19 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of fat, and 10 mg of calcium.
Teasdale Mexican Style Hominy: Typically available in a canned pack; a single serving (half cup) of this hominy has just 60 calories. Besides, it has 10 grams of carbohydrate, 6 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and just a gram of fat in it.
Gluten Free Hominy Breakfast Scramble Recipe
It may be challenging to make hominy at home directly from the corn kernels. So you can buy a can of officially certified gluten-free hominy and make some delicious dishes with it. Try this Ecuadorian-inspired gluten free breakfast scramble at home using hominy.
- Hominy: 1 cup (rinsed and dried)
- Scallions: ½ cup (finely chopped)
- White onion: ¼ cup (diced)
- Cilantro: 1 tbsp (freshly chopped)
- Garlic: 1 clove (minced)
- Cinnamon: 1/8 tsp (powdered)
- Cumin: 1/8 tsp (ground)
- Allspice mix: 1/8 tsp
- Mexican oregano: ¼ tsp
- Red paprika: ¼ tsp
- Black Pepper: 1/8 tsp (ground)
- Cheddar Cheese: 2 tbsp (shredded)
- Milk: ¼ cup (full fat)
- Butter: 1 tbsp (salted)
- Eggs: 3 (free ranch)
- Put garlic, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, allspice, and paprika in a mortar and mash the ingredients until you get a consistent paste.
- Take a large and deep skillet and put it over medium heat.
- Once the skillet is hot, add butter, onion, and scallion. Cook till onions become soft and light brown.
- Add the paste you have already prepared and stir gently until it is thoroughly mixed.
- Put rinsed and dried hominy in the skillet and cook for one minute.
- Lower the heat and add milk to the mix. Let it simmer for two minutes until it is completely absorbed by hominy.
- Take a bowl and whisk eggs until you achieve a smooth texture.
- Add the eggs to the skillet and cook until it is fluffy.
- Sprinkle cilantro and pepper, and add shredded cheddar cheese for garnishing.
Nutrition Information: A single serving (6 ounces) of this Ecuadorian-inspired breakfast scramble has just 282 calories. It has 19 grams of carbohydrate, 17 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein, 5 grams of sugar, 456 milligrams of sodium, 283 milligrams of potassium, and 263 milligrams of phosphorus.
Hominy is an indispensable part of traditional Mexican cuisine, where it is used to prepare delicious soups and casseroles. It has a distinctly sweet, aromatic, and earthy taste that can give your taste buds a ride of a lifetime. Besides, it is also digestive in nature and can significantly increase the absorption of vitamin B3 in the human body.
But, if you are allergic to gluten, you’ll want to know, “Is Hominy gluten free? The good news is that it’s naturally free from gluten! However, you need to be extra sure about additives and the cross-contamination during the industrial-level manufacturing process. So, it is better to read the label first.
What is Hominy Made of?
Hominy is typically made of corn kernels. It first goes through a process called nixtamalization using an alkaline agent, where it achieves its distinct sweet but earthy taste. Nixtamalized corn kernels then go through extensive washing and drying to reduce the amount of moisture.
Is yellow hominy gluten-free?
Both yellow and white hominy is naturally gluten-free, as it is made with corn kernels that are also naturally free from gluten. But you need to be cautious about added ingredients and cross-contamination, as many brands don’t manufacture and process hominy in gluten-free facilities.
What is the Difference Between Corn and Hominy?
Both traditional corn kernels and hominy have the same ingredient. While typical corn kernels are raw and undried, hominy is made with a nixtamalization process where corn kernels are first soaked in limewater or lye water. Then those kernels are thoroughly washed and dried.
Is corn gluten safe for celiac patients?
Corn and its derivatives are naturally gluten-free. However, the protein content in corn is often called corn gluten, although it is vastly different from its wheat, barley, or rye counterpart. Corn gluten is absolutely safe for the celiac patient, and anyone allergic to gluten can consume it.