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.

For breakfast:

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
*½ banana

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:


1 cup of coarse grits
4 cups of turkey broth
1 cup sweet corn, grilled is best
½ cup roasted, peeled and chopped green chile
½ T pepper
½ T garlic

Add all ingredients to the Crock Pot and cook on medium for 4 hours.

Grits as Appetizers

While other families were eating cookies and sweet rolls on Christmas mornings, my Aunt Billie Mills made cheese jalapeno grits.


1 cup cooked grits

½ cup pickled jalapenos and/or

½ cup roasted, peeled and chopped green chilies

*1/2 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese


Instead of peppers, use raisins

Add chopped jalapenos and cheese to cooked grits.

Stir, then put grits into a square cookie pan. You can refrigerate, but these will set at room temperature.

Slice and serve like you would brownies.

You also can eat the hot grits in a bowl instead of chilling.

*Old World ingredient