The Ancient Process of Nixtamalization

Nixtamalization is an ancient food process discovered by the Aztec (Nahuatl)  and Maya

civilizations of Mesoamerica.  Corn has a hull which locks nutrients inside and 

interrupts the body’s ability to properly digest the corn.  Nixtimilzation unlocks the 

nutrients in the corn by breaking down the hull.  Comes from the Nahuati words “nexli” 

- ashes and “tamalli – corn dough.  The whole field corn is soaked in a pickling lime 

(calcium carbonate) overnight to allow the hull to loosen.  This ancient process allows 

amino acids, nutritional proteins, calcium and niacin to be unlocked and available to the 

body to digest. The corn is then scrubbed to release the hull and ground into masa (corn 


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