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Old 09-05-2013, 06:24 AM   #5
OLChemist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subeeds View Post
What in the world does "lye some corn" mean? Lye like in soap?
Exactly like used in soap. If I'm not mistaken she's making hominy from scratch.

Lye, a mix of potassium and sodium hydroxides, or lime water, calcium hydroxide, are used in nixtamalization of corn. The kernels are cooked and then soaked in a lye solution. The alkaline solution is then discarded and the treated kernels repeatedly rinsed. The kernels are then dried for hominy or ground for masa. Nixtamalization is also at play in the production of piki.

This processing breaks down the hemicellulose and pectin in pericarp, loosening the hull of the corn. The lye swells the starch molecules and the cooking involved increases the bioavailability the nutrients from the germ. The resulting release of the bound niacin during nixtamalization is why Native populations using corn and beans as staples did not suffer from the pellagra epidemics that plagued poor European populations using the same staples. The treatment also reduces the levels of mycotoxins.

Lye and other hydroxides are not an uncommon food additive. They are used for disinfection, dehulling (potato skins are routinely loosened for commercial production of chips, fries, etc.), curing (olives), and releasing proteins. Lutefisk, specifically excluded from being defined as a toxic substance under the WI Worker's Right to Know Law, is probably most infamous lye treated food.

Last edited by OLChemist; 09-05-2013 at 06:27 AM..
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