The whole reason we started Zack’s Mighty Tortilla Chips was to create the mightiest, corniest, most delicious tortilla chip possible — and that means searching the globe for the best ingredients.
When it comes to tortilla chips, corn is the most important ingredient. We are on a quest to help revive an almost lost type of corn called Flint Corn that used to grow all across the Northeast of the US from roughly 1,000 AD up through the early 20th century. There used to be thousands of varieties of Flint Corn grown by the Native Americans before European contact but now there are only a handful of varieties left. We've partnered with farms in the Northeast to plant one such variety known as Otto File.
To help us in this quest, we are also relying on more readily available Organic Yellow Dent Corn to blend in with our Organic Yellow Flint Corn as we work to rebuild this unique supply chain.
Wait...What does "expeller pressed" mean? There are two ways to extract oil from a seed: Using a chemical solvent or through expeller pressing. Expeller pressing simply means that the seeds are pressed by a machine to squeeze the oil out of the seed. This process keeps our oil pure and free from chemicals. We source our Organic Expeller Pressed Canola Oil from a farming cooperative in the Netherlands. The Netherlands might seem a bit random, but it is actually one of the top producing countries in the world for organic oils and has been on the forefront of the organic oil movement.
Have you ever landed at San Francisco Airport and noticed those multi-colored ponds out of the window right before you land? Those are sea salt ponds and that is where our sea salt comes from! Sea salt is made by evaporating sea water. Those ponds you see are a series of interlocking areas that the salt water moves through as it evaporates. There are about 8,000 acres of salt ponds along the San Francisco Bay and they are all protected by the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The colors of the salt ponds change as the water evaporates because different microorganisms thrive at different salinity levels.
Many tortilla chips (including ours) list "lime" as an ingredient — but it's probably not the lime you’re thinking of. The lime used in making tortillas is actually calcium hydroxide, also known as pickling lime, culinary lime, or slaked lime. Calcium hydroxide is made when limestone is calcinated in a kiln and then put in water to react. We source our lime from a mine in St. Genevieve, MO, which is home to one of the purest limestone deposits in North America! This mine produces the only lime that is 100% derived in the US.
This lime is the crucial ingredient for the corn cooking process called nixtamalization. Through this process, the corn kernels are not only softened to make them easier to grind, but also key nutrients including niacin are released from the corn. Without nixtamalization or lime, you can't make a true tortilla — and by extension, a true tortilla chip.