Grains have been a staple in the human diet since man first started to cultivate crops. We are encouraged to eat whole grains whenever possible. Beside wheat, how much do you know about grains?
Amaranth – is considered a supergrain because it is rich in all the essential amino acids needed to make protein. It is a rich source of minerals. Amaranth can be eaten cooked with a porridge-like consistency or popped. It has a strong, nutty flavor.
Barley – is available hulled, pearled or quick-cooking. It has fiber throughout the grain so it is whole grain in all forms.
Brown Rice – is the nutty tasting, whole grain parent of white rice.
Buckwheat – is not related to wheat but is more genetically related to rhubarb. Buckwheat groats, also known as kasha, are the hulled seeds of the plant. It can be used as a flour or made into pasta.
Bulgar – is cracked wheat that has been par-boiled, dried and broken into pieces that can vary from fine to coarse.
Cornmeal – is made by drying and grinding dried corn. Whole grain cornmeal contains all the nutrients found in corn. Typical degermed cornmeal is not a whole grain because the husk and the germ of the kernel have been removed.
Farro – is an ancient wheat often used in salads and risottos. It is similar to barley in that can be purchased pearled or semi-pearled. This process polishes the grain and reduces cooking time.
Freekeh – is made by roasting and rubbing green durum wheat to give a smoky flavor.
Kamut – is a type of ancient wheat with large, oversized grains that have a buttery flavor.
Oatmeal – made from oats that can be sold whole as groats, steel-cut, rolled, or partially cooked for instant oatmeal.
Quinoa – originating in South America, it cooks quickly and has a nutty flavor. Quinoa must be rinsed before cooking to remove a naturally occurring bitter compound that protects the seeds from birds and insects.
Spelt – is a distant cousin of wheat. Spelt berries need long soaking before cooking but they can also be ground into flour for baking.
Teff – is a tiny, sand-like grain available in red, white and brown varieties. It can be used to thicken recipes or served as a creamy grain dish.
Wheat Berries – are the whole kernel of wheat. They cook similar to brown rice and are sweet, nutty and chewy.
Wild Rice – is actually the seed of a grass harvested by American Indians near the Great Lakes. Because it is a seed it is higher in protein than most grains.