Cornmeal vs. Grits vs. Polenta. Similarities and differences in ground corn products.

The question for today is: What is the difference between cornmeal, grits and polenta? I like one, never tried the other and definitely hate the last.

All three are corn product, a staple food around the world for a very, very long time. Every culture had developed their own favourite around corn.

But are they all the same, just with a different name? Let’s take a closer look.

Cornmeal is finely ground dried corn. I use it to prepare meals. Coarser than wheat flour, cornmeal has a slightly powdery, yet granular texture.

I often use cornmeal to dust baking surfaces for bread and pizza to prevent sticking and provide texture. I use it as an ingredient in frying, for exceptional flavour and texture. And it is the main ingredient in cornbread

Grits I have never had so I have to rely on what is written about it, “a type of cornmeal mush that originated with Native Americans and is still widely consumed across the southern United States today. Grits are most commonly served as breakfast or a side dish to other meals. Similar to cornmeal, grits are made from dried and ground corn but are usually a coarser grind. Grits are often made from hominy, which is corn treated with lime (or another alkaline product) to remove the hull.”

Polenta I don’t like. When I hear the world polenta images fill my head with sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen with this dish of yellow much in front of me and told ‘it is good for you”. I didn’t eat it then, won’t eat it now.

I know what it is. Polenta, a dish native to Italy, is made with a variety of corn called flint which contains a hard starch centre, providing a distinctly granular texture even after cooking and can be served hot and creamy or allowed to cool and then sliced.

Polenta can be cooked with stock instead of water for added flavor and can have herbs or other ingredients added during the cooking process.

Polenta can be purchased dry or cooked. Cooked polenta is often found in tube form, which can then be sliced and then fried, sautéed or grilled.