Unique among grains, oats almost never have their bran and germ removed in processing. Wheat berries – whole wheat kernels – can also be cooked as a side dish or breakfast cereal, but must be boiled for about an hour, preferably after soaking overnight. Wheat, including spelt, is the grain of the month in July. Made from steamed, dried, and cracked wheat, bulgur has a nutty flavor and a granular texture. Triticale (trit-ih-KAY-lee) is a flavorful wheat and rye hybrid whole grain, with higher protein than wheat, dating back to the turn of the 20th century. Click here to access our full Grain of the Month Calendar, or click on Learn More under each grain below. A staple for centuries the the Middle East, the alternative grain Freekeh is becoming more popular in North America. A protein-rich, gluten-free food, kasha is high in dietary fiber and antioxidants and helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Eating corn with beans creates a complementary mix of amino acids that raises the protein value to humans. Emmer is more disease resistant and grows in poorer conditions than most modern wheat, but its yield is lower, and it’s more difficult to harvest and mill, so it had fallen out of popularity until fairly recently. Rye is an ancient grain with a distinctive fragrance and mildly bitter flavor… rye is not a mild tasting grain, it has a “bite.” Common across northern Europe, Nordic countries, and Russia due to its hardiness (basically its ability to grow well despite cold and damp conditions). In addition to being cooked in its natural form, millet can be ground and used as flour (as in Indian roti) or prepared as polenta in lieu of corn meal. It is often used in hearty Italian soups and as a substitute for Arborio rice in risotto. Wheat, including Kamut, is the grain of the month in July. We also put together a handy whole grain reference chart with information on calories and protein content, as well as whether or not each of these alternative grains is gluten-free. The toasting process removes the dry outer hull of the wheat, but the leaves the inside intact. To cook bulgur:  the water to grain ratio is 3 to 1.5. Barley is available as pearled barley (the inedible hull has been removed and the grain is creamy white), hull-less barley (a variety with a loose hull that keeps more of the grain intact after harvest and is darker tan), malted barley (toasted), and rolled barley (having an appearance similar to rolled oats). Corn muffins. Bulgur is a good choice for salads: Try it with tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and mint or with dried fruits, nuts, and cinnamon. Or, boil three cups of water for each cup of drained spelt kernels. It is estimated that teff is the principal source of nutrition for over two-thirds of Ethiopians, who make it into the ubiquitous spongy injera flatbread. Rye was also widely grown in colonial America; some historians believe a fungus, rye ergot, triggered hallucinations leading to the Salem witch trials. This makes rice ideal for those on a restricted diet or who are gluten-intolerant. Health bonus: Research shows that kañiwa is high in the antioxidant quercetin. Tortillas. Couscous is a  coarse ground wheat. It is sold as a whole grain (hulled) or pearl barley (bran removed, then steamed and polished), which cooks faster. Wild rice has twice the protein and fiber of brown rice, but less iron and calcium. Couscous looks like a pasta, so much so that the not-pasta taste is a bit startling. Health bonus: Spelt is higher in protein than common wheat. The cooked grain’s texture is dense and chewy, the flavor delicate and nutty. Learn more about amaranth. Download a Printer Friendly handout of this page (170K PDF). Ancient grains and older varieties of wheat are now experiencing a great deal of interest as modern wheat alternatives. It is popular in cereals, breads, muffins, crackers and pancakes. Health bonus:  Millet is naturally high in protein and antioxidants, and can help control blood sugar and cholesterol. Learn more…. Einkorn is not gluten-free (it is wheat and therefore contains gluten). These all-in-one recipes are wholesome, simple and affordable. Recent research reports indicate that oats also have a unique antioxidant, avenanthramides, that helps protect blood vessels from the damaging effects of LDL cholesterol.

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