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Synonyms:  corn = sweet corn = maize

Equivalents:  One ear yields about 3/4 cup of kernels.  

This is the only grain that's commonly eaten as a fresh vegetable.  Native to the Americas, corn is a great source of vitamin A, fiber, and other nutrients.

When corn comes into season during the summer, it's common to see people in supermarkets peeling back husks in search of ears with perfect rows of kernels.  Don't do that yourself.  Crooked rows taste just as good as straight, and keeping the husk on helps the corn stay sweet.  Freshness is a better criterion, since the sugars in corn begin converting into starch the moment it's picked.  The best test is to sample some kernels.   Frozen corn kernels are a good substitute when fresh corn is out of season, but canned corn is only a fair substitute.

  Substitutes:   barley OR garden peas 


baby corn = Chinese baby corn   Notes:  These are tiny ears of corn that are eaten cob and all.  Asian cooks like to add them to stir-fried dishes, and they often show up in salad bars.  It's hard to find them fresh, but many markets sell them in cans or jars. 

corn grits  See hominy grits.

grits  See hominy grits


hominy = posole = pozole     Pronunciation:   HAHM-uh-nee  Equivalents:  1 cup = 165 grams   Notes:  These are hulled corn kernels that have been stripped of their bran and germ. Southern cooks usually boil whole or ground hominy until it's tender, and then they serve it in much the same way that Northern cooks would serve potatoes.  Varieties include lye hominy, which is made by soaking corn kernels in a weak lye bath, and pearl hominy, which is made by crushing corn kernels mechanically.   White hominy is made from white corn kernels, and the sweeter yellow hominy is made from yellow.  Samp is coarsely ground or broken hominy, while hominy grits are more finely ground.  You can buy hominy canned or dried.   Substitutes:   barley grits OR dried beans (in stews and soups) OR buckwheat grits OR potatoes (as a side dish)


hominy grits = grits = corn grits   Notes:    This Southern staple is made from hominy or plain corn that's been ground until it has the consistency of coarse sand.  It's used as a side dish, a breakfast cereal, or as an ingredient in baked goods.  Varieties include quick-cooking grits and instant grits.    Substitutes:   polenta meal (This is corn that's often stone-ground, so that it retains the nutritious germ.) OR buckwheat grits OR barley grits

instant hominy grits  See hominy grits

maize   See corn.


nixtamal = uncooked posole  Notes:   This is made with dried corn that's been simmered in a solution of lime and water.  This loosens the hulls from the corn kernels and makes the kernels softer and more nutritious.  Mexican cooks grind nixtamal into masa, which they use to make tortillas.  Substitutes:   hominy (softer kernels)


popcorn   Notes:   Air-popped popcorn is a terrific snack that's high in fiber and low in fat -- assuming that you don't add lots of butter and salt.  

posole  See hominy

pozole   See hominy.


purple corn = maiz morado  Notes:  Peruvians use this to make beautiful purple drinks and puddings. 

quick-cooking hominy grits  See hominy grits

sweet corn   See corn.


white corn = maiz blanco  Notes:  Peruvians make popcorn and corn nuts out of this. 


Copyright 1996 - 2005  Lori Alden