Nixtamalization, why it makes our tortillas so good!

Nixtamalization, in short, refers to a process for the preparation of maize (corn), or other grain, in which the corn is soaked and then cooked in an alkaline solution, most commonly limewater, washed, and then hulled. What is made after this process is referred to as ‘nixtamal’ or soft corn ready for grounding into corn flour.

The ancient process of nixtamalization was first developed in Mesoamerica, where maize was originally cultivated. Nixtamalization is an old culinary practice, dating back thousands of years. Historically, comals were used, or the stone rolling platform to make masa, and other materials as proxies for the practice, which begin to regularly appear at least 2,500 B.P. However, there is no way to prove that a nixtamalising maize foodway had been the first widespread maize-based foodway. Some researchers propose that early maize may have first been fermented and consumed in the form of a beverage, and thus disseminated as a social drink.

Along with its rich history, there are many health benefits to using this process. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, corn not only provides the necessary calories for healthy, daily metabolism but is also a rich source of vitamin A, B, E, and many minerals. The nixtamalization process also increases calcium levels in corn, which is important to everyone’s health, especially for those without access, or who have an intolerance to dairy. And on top of this, it increases the protein availability of the corn.

Being made of only two ingredients, our corn tortillas are gluten free, and are rid of many other ‘bad’ ingredients that are OFTEN found in wheat tortillas, so you can enjoy them, without the guilt!