Grits

Grits
Grits, made from ground hominy, are gaining interest beyond southern U.S. states. They are a breakfast staple as well as a side or main course comfort food.

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.

History

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.

Varieties

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.

Storage Tips

Grits have a long shelf life of about two years.

Usage Tips

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.

Substitution Tips

• Polenta or cornmeal

Related Recipes

View BigOven's grits recipes

by BigOven editorial team
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