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A Southern U.S. tradition, grits are served
as a part of breakfast, or as a side or main dish with any meal. They
are also included in baked foods. They’re made from coarsely ground
hominy, but can also be processed from oats and other grains.
To produce grits, corn is
first soaked in a limewater solution, which makes the kernels expand
and then dry out. The swollen hominy hulls and germ are removed before
grinding. Grits are made from the coarsest grind; cornmeal is the medium grind, and masa harina (cornflour) is made from the finest grind.
When water or milk are simmered with grits, the consistency becomes similar to thick oatmeal. For breakfast, butter is added and a bowl is included alongside eggs, bacon, and biscuits.
Native Americans welcomed the first Jamestown
settlers with offerings of hot, soft maize, which they called
“rockahominie.” The dish became a Southern economical necessity during
the Great Depression.
Today, grits remain popular as a comfort food (even in parts of Africa and China),
but their reputation is expanding into more trendy restaurants around
the world. It is assumed in many Southern diners that grits will be
included with any ordered breakfast.
Grits are packaged in three ways:
• Regular - made of larger pellets that require lengthy cooking.
• Quick – these are broken-up pellets of a slightly finer grind for faster preparation.
• Instant – precooked grits that are dried; boiling water is added to rehydrate quickly.
Packaged, flavored grits are also available.
Grits have a long shelf life of about two years.
• Grits can go with any meal or become a main course. As a simple dish, add cheese and garlic.
• Make “custom” sides for each family member – just include desired ingredients.
• Fry them or bake them with spices for a tasty snack.
• Treat grits like rice or pasta and serve them as a bed for sauces and meats or poultry.
• Polenta or cornmeal
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