I've cried uncle and given up to their terrible interface and accepted the pics will be put where blogspot wants them to be put no matter what I try. I apologize for the crummy placement of the photographs in the post. I tried. I lost.
Here's to another attempt at making hominy and an almost success! I finally found real lye and used the recipe in my Farm Journal book; said recipe is very close to the recipe in the Ball Blue Book of Canning.
|At the beginning|
|After about 5 minutes|
What I did was to cut out the last step of cooking between making and canning. The recipe called for cooking for 40 minutes or so until soft and then processing in the canner for 60 minutes. I had thought it was pretty soft and decided to can it without the 40 minutes of cooking. I needed another opinion beside my own, and Uncle thinks it needs the cooking. So I'll try that on the next attempt.
This post will mainly be a pictoral showing the process. Whenever I finally decide I've got it down pat, I'll write a recipe post.
|After 10 minutes|
|After 20 minutes|
The first step is to mix 4 tablespoons of lye to 8 quarts water for processing 2 quarts dried corn. I used 1 quart corn and mixed 2 tblsp lye to 4 quarts water. I stirred the lye into the water in a stainless steel pan. Once dissolved, I added the corn and turned the heat to high. Your'e supposed to cook this "30 minutes or until the hulls start to come off."
Okay. Doesn't that sound simple? It really wasn't. It's not like you can see the hull sloughing off the corn. It took me two tries to decide that when the solution begins to get thick and you can detect a rather gelatinous glop in places that that's the hulls coming off. The first time I just cooked for 30 minutes. The stuff in the pan turned into the texture of a thick chowder. The second time, I cooked for 20 minutes and decided that gelatinous stuff I saw was actually the hulls coming off and quit cooking it. That's the key.
When you first start, everything is clear and bright. Then the corn begins to turn dark. The solution begins to turn dark. The wooden spoon begins to turn dark. It darkens continuously through the cooking. If you cook 30 minutes, the solution is opaque, and you can't see through it; it's also terribly thick. When I cooked 20 minutes, the solution was mostly opaque, but it wasn't quite as thick.
At this point you let the corn and solution sit for "about 20 minutes." Then you begin the rinsing. I was all cool with this until I started to dump the solution through a strainer and realized the drain pipes were PVC. Well, bull hockey. Was I going to eat the PVC out? Since I don't dare eat the drain pipes out, I drained the first rinse out into another pan and dumped it outside. Luckily we have a good place to dump it. Then you keep rinsing the corn in fresh water until you have the nibs out.
|After 30 minutes|
|How thick the solution is|
|Hominy after rinsing|
After this, you're supposed to boil the hominy 40 minutes or so until soft. This is step I didn't do. I immediately went to processing for 1 hour in the pressure canner. What I discovered is that the corn kernels still suck up an incredible amount of water and swell considerably. I ended up with no head space, jars only about 2/3 full of water, 2 out of 5 pints didn't seal, and opinion is that it wasn't cooked enough. Okay. Cook the hominy 40 minutes at least before canning.
The hominy is a bit more translucent than store-bought hominy. It wasn't in perfect kernels like store bought. There were more smaller bits floating around than I wanted. Using a slotted spoon to put in the jars helps a bit with this. Also, I decided that using a separate pan of boiling water rather than the water you boil the hominy in makes a pretty, less cloudy product.