Hominy was one of the first foods that the Indians introduced to the colonists. It is basically corn, but the hull (the tough covering of the kernel) and the germ (the oil-rich central core of the kernel) removed.
To make hominy from corn, the whole corn is treated with lime, calcium carbonate, and lye in varying combinations. This mixture loosens the corn hull and partially cooks the corn, causing it to swell. The hulls and germ are then washed away, and the hominy is washed well to remove all traces of the poisonous mixture used to treat it. It can then be boiled and eaten, canned, or dried. The snack we know as Corn Nuts is simply dried, salted hominy. Hominy grits is dried hominy that is coarsely ground. Masa harina, the flour used in making tortillas is finely ground hominy.
Native Americans and the pioneers made hominy by soaking ashes in a section of a hollow log and draining off the water to get lye. Dried corn was then soaked in the lye water for several days, until the hull and the little 'nib' was loose. Then the corn was rinsed repeatedly to remove the hulls and lye residue.