Nixtamalized flour is the main topic of the OcrimWebinar scheduled on February 03rd and 04th and directed by Andrea Schintu, Ocrim Sales Manager and Rodrigo Ariceaga, Niztamalized Flour Expert and Molitecnica Srl Sales Manager. The webinar will focus on corn nixtamalization, a common way in processing corn, according to Native American tradition, that generates an elastic mixture rich in bioavailable nutrients. Most of traditional Mexican and Central American food are made with this flour (nixthamal), such as tortillas, arepas, pozole, tamales, tacos.
The cultivation of corn has ancient origins: there is evidence already in the Mayan and Aztec civilizations and it has always been the staple food in whole Meso-American land (from Mexico, to Honduras, to Nicaragua). It is a basic ingredient in North and South American and cuisine. However, unlike wheat, corn does not contain gluten, so it is difficult to knead it: the resulting dough is not elastic enough and it breaks down. To overcome this problem, American Natives adopted the so called “corn nixtamalisation”: it is a specific corn processing that has been consolidated and unchanged for millennia. This process firstly involves boiling corn grains in an alkaline solution of water and lime (calcium hydroxide) in the proportion of 3 to 1, secondly keeps resting the solution for a variable time and, finally, washing accurately in order to eliminate lime residues and subsequent fermentations (changable depending on the final product). At this point, the corn (nixthamal) is ready for grinding: in some rural areas of Central America this process is still carried out by hand, while the rest of the world entrusts these passages and the grinding to a specific equipment. This is the future of nixtamalization and the issue will be covered in depth during the OcrimWebinar.
As a conclusion, why is it essential to rely on nixtamalization? One of the main benefits carried out by this process is the ability to let the body absorb various nutrients (minerals and vitamins) released by the grain starch during the alkaline process that turns them immediately bioavailable. The nixtamalization process is therefore fundamental, also from an historical point of view: when corn was imported to Europe, an epidemic of pellagra spread. This disease was caused by the absence of niacin (vitamin B3) linked to the wrong processing of the grain and the lack of nixtamalization.
New Eating Habits
Ocrim Research & Development department has recently reported a conspicuous increase in food consumption typical of overseas cultures. Tortillas, tacos, arepas and other Central American traditional food are made specifically with nixtamalized corn flour . In order to keep offering cutting-edge solutions to its customers, Ocrim Spa has signed a partnership with Molitecnica srl in 2019: this is the very first company in Italy able to provide specific plants for nixtamalized flour and “alternative” flours. The design requires OCRIM’s high performing processing machines which are able to enhance the benefits of nixtamalization process. This subject will be the main topic of the presentation directed by Andrea Schintu and Rodrigo Ariceaga in the free webinar scheduled on: