Grits are ground from corn with hard kernels. The kernels are dried on the cob, then removed and soaked in a solution of wood ash (although baking soda and lime can be used) which causes the kernels to swell and soften. Then the kernels are hulled and dried; afterwards the hominy is ground and the result is grits. This process causes the protein value to be decreased, but lysine and tryptophan are increased. Without this process of using wood ash, however, pellagra (a deficiency of tryptophan and niacin) can occur because the food becomes deficient. Obviously, tribes learned that to use wood ash would increase the nutritional value of the corn.
Grits are popular in southern states; there are hundreds of recipes featuring grits and just as many southern towns that host grits festivals. It is interesting to me that many people I know have never heard of grits.
The basic way to eat grits is not to buy the store-bought packages (like the oatmeal packs). The best are the freshly milled grits usually obtained from a health food store.
1 cup stone-ground or other good quality grits
3 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Stevia for sweetness
raisins or dried cranberries, amount depends on how much you like them
Bring water to a boil and add grits, stir constantly. Add seasonings. Stir well, cover tightly and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until soft. You will need to check them often to make sure they don’t scorch. Add more water if they become dry. When the grits are soft, add the fruit and serve.
Grits side dishes
The options for preparing grits are endless; you can add all kinds of sautéed chopped vegetables and meats to the cooked grits.
One option is Crock Pot Grits: