Pickling Lime

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$6.99


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Prepare corn according to the Nourishing Traditions (Traditional Food) method by soaking the corn in lime water prior to using. Ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures developed nixtamalization using lime and ash to create alkaline solutions to treat corn.

Nixtamalizing corn by soaking it in lime water produces corn that is more easily ground (when treating whole corn rather than corn meal), its nutritional value is increased through the freeing up of Vitamin B3, flavor and aroma are improved, and mycotoxins (a type of fungus) are reduced. Unprocessed Maize (corn) is deficient in niacin which is problematic when corn is used as a staple food in a diet. While it is suggested that corn should soak in lime water for 7 hours prior to using it in cooking, traditional cultures would often soak corn for 1-2 weeks.

To make nixtamal, traditional societies would add whole corn to the alkaline (lime water) solution, cook and steep the mixture, then wash the corn. Afterwards, the nixtamal would be ground and become masa which was either used fresh in a dough to make tortillas, arepas, and tamales. If the mixture was dried, it became instant masa flour which could later be reconstituted and used.

Pickling Lime is also known as Hydrated Lime which is Food-Grade Saturated Calcium Hydroxide Solution. Use caution when handling and be sure to rinse the corn thoroughly after soaking.

Instructions for Using Pickling Lime to Prepare (Soak) Corn: To prepare corn according to the Nourishing Traditions (Traditional Foods) method: Add one inch of lime to a 2 quart jar. Add non-chlorinated water. Shake to combine. (Some lime will settle in the bottom of the jar.) Carefully pour the lime water off without disturbing the settled portion at the bottom of the jar. Soak the whole corn or cornmeal in lime water for at least seven hours before using (the next step according to Nourishing Traditions is to soak the cornmeal in buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir). Whole corn and cornmeal can both benefit from soaking in lime water.

Click here for information on making Homemade Corn Tortillas using pickling lime to soak the corn for more nutrient-dense tortillas.

Click here for a recipe for making Soft Polenta using pickling lime to soak the corn; a delicious and frugal recipe.

Contains: 16 oz. Pickling Lime (Food Grade Saturated Calcium Hydroxide Solution)

Questions on Pickling Lime

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  • From Ed Burkhead at 3/27/2012 10:27 AM
    • How MUCH pickling lime (in ounces or grams) does it take to treat what quantity of corn?

      i.e. how much corn will 1 pound of pickling lime treat?
    • You can use 1-1.5 Tablespoons (I don't have ounce or gram measurements) to 1 pound of corn.
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  • From Ed Burkhead at 4/11/2012 11:07 PM
    • You sell the pickling lime by weight, 16 oz. But you tell me that I need to use a volume measurement to treat the corn, i.e. 1-1.5 tablespoons. (64 tablespoons per quart)

      So, what's the *volume* of 16 oz of pickling lime?

      (I'd note that two 55 gallon bins of corn will provide the calories to keep an adult alive for a year. Thus, I want to know how much lime I need to treat a three-person survival ration [600 pounds each or 1800 pounds, total].)
    • One tablespoon of pickling lime is approximately 15 grams, depending on how tightly it is packed. 16 ounces is about 448 grams, so one package of pickling lime is close to 30 tablespoons. Again, this will vary depending on how tightly the tablespoon is packed and how much moisture is in it.
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  • From Cherri at 5/15/2012 10:08 PM
    • What is pickling lime used for? How does one use it? Thanks!
    • Pickling lime is used in canning as a firming agent for vegetables like pickles. It is also used to release nutrients in corn before grinding. The vegetables are soaked in a pickling lime solution then rinsed thoroughly before proceeding.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Hubert at 1/5/2013 4:25 PM
    • Can pickling lime become none reactive over time? Also why none chlorinated water? Does it affect the reaction?
    • Pickling Lime wil lose potency very slowly over time. Once you've opened the bag, store the remainder in a closed container with tight-fitting lid for best results.

      The water should be free of as many contaminants as possible. Chlorine in particular can interfere with the nixtamalization process.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Angie at 5/7/2013 7:54 PM
    • After making the pickling lime and using the liquid lime water, can I just add more water to the container with the already used lime powder? Or do I need to throw it out and use fresh lime powder each time I make the pickling lime liquid?
    • You cannot reuse the powder. It hardens at the bottom of the jar and should be discarded after one use.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Hojemo at 11/13/2013 8:09 AM
    • What exactly is pickling lime? Is it just the dried juice of of a citrus lime? Is this product organic?
    • Pickling Lime, also known as Hydrated Lime, is Food-Grade Saturated Calcium Hydroxide Solution. It is not certified organic.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Heather at 12/5/2013 4:31 PM
    • The bag doesn't have a warning, but OSHA regulates Calcium Hydroxide. Hazard Summary: Calcium Hydroxide can affect you when breathed in. Contact can severely irritate and burn the skin and eyes with possible eye damage. Breathing Calcium Hydroxide can irritate the nose, throat and lungs causing coughing, wheezing and/or shortness of breath.

      It doesn't seem like there is much risk when working with 1 Tbsp, but the Ed Burkhead may need to know, if he's treating 165 Lbs of corn, he should know about the warnings.
    • Thank you for your note of caution. Like many natural materials, pickling lime has potential risks. Here is the warning label included on our packages of pickling lime:
      "Caution: Lime is a highly alkaline powder. Keep away from eyes and from breathing. Wash hands and skin to remove. Not for direct consumption."​

      We also advise closely following the instructions included or those from a reputable source.
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  • From teresa at 6/25/2014 1:58 PM
    • can this be used to soak whole grain cornmeal? And will the cornmeal be safe to consume afterwards? Will the cornmeal need to be rinsed before preparing into something like cornbread since vegetables used in canning recipes are rinsed?
    • Pickling lime can be used to soak cornmeal. We do recommend rinsing the meal after soaking.
      To rinse, line a fine mesh strainer with a cloth such as Butter Muslin (http://www.culturesforhealth.com/butter-muslin.html). Add the soaked cornmeal and rinse. Then use in your recipe as directed.
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Customer Reviews

Satisfied!! Review by Jenn
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Quality
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Used pickling lime to make my own corn tortillas. Very yummy results! Product quickly shipped and I am quite satisfied!

(Posted on 9/15/2014)

great product, great value Review by ATW
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Shipping was super fast and the product works like a charm. I am using it to make Konjac cakes from Konjac powder. It work great. Very pleased.

(Posted on 10/27/2013)



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