Quaker Grits are a staple in many Southern kitchens, and they’re perfect as an accompaniment to any meal or served on their own.
Here’s everything you need to know about this tasty dish!
What Are Quaker Grits?
Quaker Grits are not the same thing as regular cornmeal grits, which is ground from dried corn kernels that have been soaked in water and then cooked into porridge before being milled.
In contrast, Quakers use dried whole kernel corn (also known as “green maize”) instead of soaking it first.
The result is a much lighter texture than traditional cornmeal grits, but with a similar flavor profile.
They can be used interchangeably with regular cornmeal grits, though some people prefer them because they don’t require soaking.
They’re also referred to by other names like ‘hominy grits’, ‘corn pone’, and ‘field peas’.
This last name comes from the fact that these grains were originally grown primarily as food for livestock.
This type of cooking was popular among African-Americans during slavery times because it could be prepared quickly without using much fuel or labor.
It’s still used today even in modern kitchens when time is at a premium.
How Are Quaker Grits Made?
Grits are cooked corn kernels that have been ground into small pieces with the help of stone-ground masa harina (corn flour).
The grits can be eaten plain or mixed with different ingredients such as butter, milk, cheese, eggs, etc.
The most common way to make Quaker grits involves mixing the cornmeal with water and cooking it over low heat until thickened.
This method requires constant stirring to prevent burning and ensures even cooking throughout the mixture.
Once the grits have reached a desired consistency, they’re ready to serve.
Ingredients for Quaker Grits
- 1 cup yellow grits
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Method for Making Quaker Grits
Step 1 – Cook the grits: Start by heating up 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan over high heat.
Once boiling, add in the 4 cups of whole milk along with the salt.
Stir constantly so that all the lumps disappear from the mixture.
Bring the mixture down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes while stirring regularly.
After five minutes, lower the heat to medium and continue to stir the grits every 30 seconds until you see them start to thicken.
You should hear the water bubbling slightly during this process.
The grits will take approximately 20 minutes before reaching a creamy texture.
Be patient when waiting for your grits to become thicker because if you rush through this step, you may end up with dry, burnt grains.
Now that the grits are cooked, remove them from the heat and cover them.
Let them cool completely at room temperature before serving.
You can now enjoy these deliciously chewy treats just like how the original settlers enjoyed them back in the 18th century.
What Is The History Of Quaker Grits?
The earliest reference to quaker grits comes from 1775 when Thomas Jefferson wrote that he enjoyed them “as much as I enjoy any thing in the world”.
They were first mentioned by James Madison who described them as being similar to Indian cornmeal but with a slightly different texture.
It wasn’t until 1849 that the word ‘grits’ became associated with what we now call quaker grits.
The term was coined by a New York newspaper editor who used it to describe breakfast grits which had been mixed with molasses and sugar.
From then on, the name stuck.
By the late 19th century, the popularity of quaker grits meant that they could be found at local stores across America – although most people still called them ‘Indian Corn Meal’.
In 1901, however, General Mills started selling a product under that name and it has remained the standard ever since.
How Do You Cook Quaker Grits?
There are two ways of cooking quaker grits: by boiling them, which takes longer but leaves them tender, and by baking them, which cooks faster but leaves them crunchy.
If you want your grits creamy then boil them like so:
- Add 1 cup water per cup of dry grits (or 2 cups if using quick-cooking). Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.
For crispy quakers, bake them instead:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix all ingredients together in bowl and pour into greased 9×13 pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
What Do You Eat Quaker Grits With?
You can use them just like cornmeal – add it to soups, stews, casseroles, salads, and even baked goods such as muffins and biscuits.
They also make great additions to dishes that require thickening your gravy or adding body to sauces.
You can stir cooked grits into a pan sauce made from leftover poultry or meat, and serve it over rice or polenta if you want to keep things light.
If you love eggs, try cooking grits and serving them up with scrambled eggs instead of toast.
They’ll have the same texture while providing more protein than bread alone would offer.
Grits go well with so much, but when you really get down to brass tacks, what should you pair them with?
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Quaker Grits?
I can’t imagine a more versatile food than quaker grits.
It has been eaten since before America was even formed.
The first settlers brought it over from England during the 1600s, and today it is enjoyed all across the country.
The best thing about these little squares of cornmeal?
They taste great! And when paired with other foods like chicken, ham, bacon, butter, cheese, eggs, and veggies, they become one of the most flavorful dishes around.
In addition to being easy to make at home, quaker grits also have several health benefits.
Here are some of them:
- They help reduce cholesterol levels because they contain soluble fiber which helps lower blood sugar spikes after meals.
- They may protect your heart by lowering bad LDL cholesterol.
- They may help prevent cancer because they contain antioxidants that keep free radicals away.
- They provide essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, vitamin B12, magnesium, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, copper, thiamine, folic acid, pantothenic acid, selenium, and vitamins K and C.
- They are low-calorie, high in carbohydrates (about 16 grams per serving), so if you use them in place of rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, or anything else that contains carbs, you will be able to lose weight without feeling deprived.
- If you cook them right, they are very filling.
Are Quaker Grits Healthy?
If you’re wondering whether or not to include these foods into your diet, then we have some good news – they aren’t all that bad.
Many people think of grits as being high in fat and calories, but they don’t actually contain much more than other whole grain flours like wheat flour, rice flour, etc.
This is because they are made from coarsely ground corn kernels which have had little to no processing done to them.
This means that while they have a higher carbohydrate content compared to most other grains, it’s still within a normal range for whole grains. In fact, one cup of cooked quaker grits has only 7 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.
In addition, since they are made with stone-ground corn, they also have a lower glycemic index (GI) score than regular white flour products.
So if you want to make sure you get enough carbohydrates without worrying too much about blood sugar levels, quaker grits might be just what you need!
Other health benefits of quaker grits
There are several additional reasons why quaker grits can help improve overall well-being:
- They are rich in vitamin B6, zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and selenium.
- They are low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
- They do not contain gluten.
- As mentioned above, they have a relatively low GI value, so they won’t spike your blood sugar levels.
- The texture of quaker grits is smooth and creamy, so they are easy to chew, swallow, digest, and absorb nutrients more efficiently.
What Are The Side Effects Of Eating Quaker Grits?
If you don’t like them, then it might be time to take another look at your cooking skills.
Quaker grits are made from cornmeal that has been soaked overnight, boiled with water until thickened, strained out of the pot and cooled before serving.
They have a distinctive flavor which is often described as “crispy” but there isn’t much evidence to suggest that this makes them unhealthy.
In fact, studies show that people who eat lots of whole grains tend to live longer than those who do not.
The only downside to eating these delicious grits is that some people may find them too bland.
If you want to spice up your Quaker grits, try adding herbs and spices to the boiling water when soaking your cornmeal, or you could also add sugar to sweeten them.
You should always check the ingredients list of food products for added sugars, however, because many foods naturally contain natural fructose (a type of sugar).
Benefits of Quaker Grits
- High in fiber
- Rich source of B vitamins and minerals
- Contain antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene
- Good source of protein
How Can I Make Quaker Grits More Interesting?
One way that you can spice up your quaker grits is by adding other ingredients like spinach, bacon, cheese, peppers, or even mushrooms.
You could also add seasonings such as garlic powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, chili powder, or paprika.
You might want to try using different types of flour instead of all-purpose flour when you make them.
Using whole wheat flour will give the grits a nuttier flavor while white flour gives them a lighter texture.
Why do people eat quaker grits?
There are several reasons why people enjoy eating quaker grits.
For starters, it’s easy to prepare, which makes it convenient if someone else needs to cook dinner.
It doesn’t require much effort either; just mix together the dry ingredients and pour boiling water over the mixture until it reaches the desired consistency.
They’re also great to serve with breakfast because they have a hearty texture similar to oatmeal without being too heavy.
They provide energy throughout the day so you don’t feel sluggish after having one serving.
Finally, they taste good.
The combination of cornmeal and grits is simply irresistible.
There are no artificial flavors added into the mixture unlike most commercial products.
What Are Some Creative Ways To Use Quaker Grits?
You could serve them with fried chicken, pork chops, shrimp, and even turkey drumsticks if you wanted to go that route.
They also pair well with ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, and of course, cheese (especially cheddar).
You can add your favorite seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and other spices to give it just the right amount of flavor.
There really is no wrong way to prepare these.
If you want to get fancy, you can layer multiple types of grits into one bowl so you have different flavors throughout each bite.
It may seem complicated at first but once you try it out, you won’t be able to stop yourself from experimenting with new combinations.
- 1/2 Cup Quaker Quick Grits
- 2 Cup Water
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Dash garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp Paprika
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp butter
- Grits are added to boiling water while it is still bubbling. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until thickened, stirring regularly, on medium-low heat. Garlic powder and cheese are added. Till the cheese is melted, simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Add salt to taste and paprika to garnish.