The other day I cracked them instead of grinding them into cornmeal. I was trying to make a coarse meal for grits. When you buy quick grits in the grocery store, you are buying hominy grits. Hominy is corn that has been nixtamalized: that is, the kernels have been cooked in an alkali solution to loosen the hull, and then the hull has been rubbed off. These de-hulled kernels are whole hominy. (You can buy it in a can.) If you dry the whole de-hulled kernels and then crack them coarsely, you have hominy grits, and they cook quickly, in about five minutes, because they have been pre-cooked.
I was making un-hominy, non-nixtamalized grits. I just took the raw, dry corn and cracked it, as one would for chicken feed.
These kinds of grits take longer to cook--about 40 minutes--but they taste very good. I cooked one cup of grits in four cups of water on the wood stove, very slowly, stirring frequently to keep them from sticking or burning. This is like making polenta, the Italian cornmeal dish, or "cornmeal mush," as one of my friends calls it. After the grits had thickened, I stirred a cup of milk in.
I thought that these Tennessee Red Cob grits tasted pretty good. But Hickory King still wins the taste test. This summer, I think I will plant a few hills of TN Red Cob, a few hills of Hickory King, and a few hills of gourdseed corn. I've never grown that one before, but it's very old, and it shells easily. I got it from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. It could be that growing these corns close to each other may cause them to cross pollinate a little, but then I will just be breeding a new corn that's sweet, drought tolerant, and easy to shell. Perfect!