If you’re a fan of Latin American cooking then you’re probably quite familiar with hominy, which has been part of the regional cuisine at least since the time of the Mayan empire, if not before that. There, it was used in making grits, masa, or pozole (a traditional dish of the Nahuas people of Mexico), and other dishes as well.
Hominy is an ingredient that has a lot to offer. It can be a key component in making a hearty soup or any other meal that “sticks to your ribs”. It’s a versatile ingredient that I recommend keeping on hand for use in all manner of recipes.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about storing hominy to extend its shelf life.
Can Hominy Be Frozen?
Hominy is a tasty and cheap ingredient that you can add to a variety of dishes. However, one drawback is that usually, hominy comes in very large cans – usually too big to use in one (or two) meals. While you can buy it in smaller cans, by far the best deals are when buying it large cans or quantities. But, what can you do with all of this leftover hominy?
If you don’t think that you can eat it all before it goes bad in the fridge (usually about a week) can you freeze hominy? Yup, you can easily freeze hominy and save it for a later date so you don’t have to worry about any of it going to waste.
How Long Can You Freeze Hominy?
You can freeze hominy for up to four months. This time period is for the best quality and if you freeze it the proper way (I’ll go over that shortly).
After the four months, while it still will be safe to eat, you may notice that the quality will begin to suffer, becoming increasingly tasteless and losing its texture as more time goes on. And this goes for both store-bought and homemade hominy, four months is the rule of thumb for both. However, you might find the store-bought variety freezes slightly better due to the likelihood that preservatives were added in the production process.
While four months isn’t exactly a lot of time compared to other foods that can be stored in the freezer for upwards of a year, at least it can give you a bit more time to be able to use it without having to worry about throwing it away.
How to Freeze Hominy
I’ve already mentioned that it’s easy to freeze hominy, and it’s no joke. It really doesn’t require much effort at all. All you need is about one minute of your time and a freezer-safe bag or container. Here’s how you do it:
- Drain the hominy. You shouldn’t freeze it with any of the residual liquid.
- Pour the hominy into a freezer bag or airtight container.
- Label the bag or container with the date and place it in the freezer.
How easy is that? Now, you just have to be sure to remember to use it! And remember, as with other foods, you need to make sure that it’s properly sealed before putting it in the freezer. The biggest enemy of frozen foods is unwanted air getting in. This can cause freezer burn and thus ruining the food.
How to Defrost Hominy
Not only is it easy to freeze hominy, but usually it’s super easy to defrost it as well. It’s so easy, in fact, that you usually don’t have to defrost it at all!
Since some of the most common ways to use hominy are in soups or other similar types of dishes, you can actually just add the frozen hominy directly into the dish while you’re preparing it.
However, there are some cases where you’ll likely want to defrost your frozen hominy. Perhaps you plan on sautéing it or grinding it down to make masa. Maybe you have another reason entirely! Whatever the reason, thawing hominy is simple. All you need to do is set the hominy out on the counter for two to three hours.
Or, if you have a bit of extra time, you can defrost it in the fridge by leaving it there overnight.
I suggest the latter method as it’s safer in the case that you forget that you left the hominy out. This is because if it’s left out for too long in the dreaded “danger zone” then it’s at risk of dangerous bacteria forming in the food.
Other Storage Methods for Hominy
There are really only two other methods of storing hominy, one if it’s opened, and the other if it’s unopened.
If it’s opened, the only other way you can store it is by keeping it in the fridge. If you plan on storing it in the fridge you don’t have to worry about draining the liquid, but you should transfer the contents into an airtight container and then place it in the fridge. You should use it within five to seven days. If you don’t think you’ll be able to use it in that amount of time, you should consider storing it in the freezer.
The other method is if it’s unopened. And this way it can last the longest. Unopened canned hominy can be safely stored for years. Some people have reported it lasting a decade or more. The best way to keep it stored for long periods of time is in a cool, dark space. Usually your pantry will do the job perfectly.
Does Hominy Freeze Well in Soup?
One thing about (most) soups is that they freeze very well. The only exceptions are ones that have lots of cream, seafood, or other ingredients that don’t freeze particularly well.
However, most of the soups you’re likely to use hominy in (Pozole Rojo, for example) freeze very well. So, generally, hominy freezes very well in soup. You should be more concerned about other ingredients (like the ones previously mentioned) that may not be so suited to freezing.
Freezing a soup is a great way to have an easy dinner on hand if you don’t have time during a busy week to make one from scratch.
Is Hominy Good or Bad for You?
There are some concerns that since hominy goes through a certain level of processing (nixtamalization) that it may not be good for you. However, that’s not true. And, actually, unlike corn where sometimes whole corn kernels can pass through your digestive tract intact and not provide any nutrients, the vitamins in hominy are more readily available for your body to absorb. Hominy has high levels of B vitamins as well as fiber and is low in fat.
What Can You Do With Extra Hominy?
If you have extra hominy and you don’t know what to do with it, here are a few ideas for some other ways you can use it:
- Use it as a corn replacement in other recipes.
- Make hominy grits.
- Make homemade corn nuts.
- Finely chop it or puree it and use it in cornbread.
- Add as an additional ingredient in homemade chili.