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Homemade Tortillas

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Last week's Friday Pearl focused on niacin (vitamin B3) and the role it plays in optimal skin, digestive system, and nervous system health. 


We also discussed how US diets consisting of excessive corn and corn products are frequently linked to niacin deficiency, while our friends in Mexico rarely suffer from this deficiency. The difference being, their traditional preparation of corn tortillas involves soaking the corn in lime (calcium oxide) prior to cooking. Heating corn in alkaline solutions results in the release of bound niacin, dramatically increasing its bioavailability. 


This type of corn ground into flour is called masa harina, great for homemade tamales and tortillas. We recommend Gold Mine Organic. It's often available in the ethnic isle of supermarkets, in most Mexican markets and from Amazon.  


Homemade tortillas directions for about 12 six inch rounds


Place two cups of masa harina in a deep bowl with one-half teaspoon salt. Mix well. 


Add one cup of warm water, and stir until the water is absorbed.


Add another half cup of water incrementally until the yellow masa flour melds into a dough. If the dough feels too wet, add a bit more masa harina. If it feels too dry, add a bit more water.


Let dough rest for a few minutes while you heat griddle or skillet. Use your hands to form golf ball-size rounds, and flatten with a tortilla press (works best if dough balls are placed on the press on a piece of plastic cut from one side of a new sandwich bag, with the other half placed on top of the small dough ball before flattening; it's so much easier to remove the flattened tortilla from the two plastic pieces than when placed directly on the press).  


Place tortillas on a medium-hot grill or skillet for a couple of minutes on each side. Store in a tortilla keeper in the refrigerator and reheat in microwave. You may have to practice a few times before achieving perfect-looking tortillas.  Altitude, attitude, and weather seem to make a bit of a difference in outcome.


Nutritional value


Every two ounces of corn tortillas provide 6.3 grams of dietary fiber.

  

They are rich in niacin, as discussed above, and phosphorus, which plays a role in healthy bones, skin tissue, and cellular membranes, including DNA. Phosphorus also acts as a chemical buffer to control blood acidity.


Masa harina corn tortillas are also great sources of copper and manganese, two minerals necessary for enzyme function.  


Masa harina is gluten-free when it is processed in a gluten-free facility. 


These tortillas are fairly low calorie, with each six-inch nutrient-dense tortilla containing around 65 calories, making them a healthy source of energy, particularly when served warm. Try not to have too many, since there is a huge taste-difference between these and store-bought corn tortillas.  


Ellen Troyer, with David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


Most children love making tortillas, and they are perfect wrapped around most any leftover meat, vegetables, and greens on the nights busy moms and dads are simply too tired to cook. And they are healthier, less expensive, and usually quicker than most fast-food delivery services.