If you didn't grow up in the South, there's a chance you rarely (or never) had grits. Grits is a milled corn dish that originated with the Muskogee Tribe. As you might expect, this staple food has a sandy texture. While that might sound off-putting to the uninitiated, it is quite satisfying once you get used to it. On the downside, grits do not have the most robust flavor. This can create a point of contention when it comes to how grits are prepared. Specifically, should you or should you not wash your grits?
Although this sounds like a no-brainer, it isn't as clear-cut as, "Should you wash fresh vegetables?" (The answer to that question, by the way, is an undisputed "yes!") Some people refuse to wash their grits, and they can back up their position with facts. When you wash grits, it diminishes the flavor. Since the flavor is already nearly neutral, washing them can remove that last vestige of corn flavor and leave you with a dish that tastes lackluster.
The Pros And Cons Of Washing Grits
One argument for rinsing grits is to make sure they are clean. While this might not be a tremendous concern if they are packaged and stored properly, there is still a chance they can have dust or debris in them. Rinsing them will remove the things you do not want to eat. It will also remove excess starch. If you prefer a lighter, less gummy texture, this is the way to go.
However, just as rinsing your grits will remove the bad, it will also remove the good. A source of folate, niacin, and riboflavin, grits have a wealth of nutritional value. To get the most benefits from grits, choose stone-ground or old-fashioned grits and refrain from rinsing them. Also, washing grits takes time. If you don't want to be bothered, you may opt to cook your grits without pre-rinsing.
While grits may last up to 5 years, they can go bad. However, washing them won't make them safe to eat. If your grits develop black spots, become discolored, or develop an unpleasant odor, no amount of washing will make them fresh again. At this point, it is best to toss them.
Read the original article on Mashed.