This information was first shown in the Allrecipes magazine.
Seriously, when you shop at health food stores, do you wonder what half the grains are in those bins…and how to cook them? I sure do. When I found this article in the Allrecipes magazine on different kinds of whole grains, I knew it was something worth studying and mentioning to my readers. I’ve been on this healthy eating kick for quite some time now and I love it when I come across information that can help me continue on the healthy path of eating right (or better).
After reading the article, I thought it would be good to condense the information and just give out the strong points of each grain and what you can do with each (how to cook it, how to prepare, etc.).
** Means it was given healthy nutritional information and ones I would definitely include in my meals.
Just in case some of you don’t know – Wheat, barley & rye are NOT GF.
**Amaranth – is Gluten-Free – a mild peppery flavor can be eaten as a sweet or savory side dish and can even be popped like popcorn. High in protein AND a complete protein. TO COOK: Bring 2 cups liquid to a boil, add 1 cup dried amaranth, cover and simmer 15 to 20 mins. Yields 2-1/2 cups. Toss with herbs and olive oil or cook it to make oatmeal.
Barley – High in fiber – takes about an hour to cook – is chewing a bit starchy. Barley can easily be found on the grocery shelf. There’s two different kinds of barely – pearl and hulled. TO COOK: Cook either type in lots of water like you would pasta. One cup will yield about 3 cups cooked. I’ve seen barley used in soups.
Buckwheat – is Gluten-Free (despite the name) – it is related to rhubarb – has a deep nutty flavor. TO COOK: Bring 2 cups liquid to a boil, add 1 cup buckwheat, cover and simmer 20 mins until tender. Yields about 4 cups. Works well with hearty veggies such as, mushrooms, caramelized onions and carrots.
Bulgur – is considered a convenient grain b/c it requires practically no cooking. TO COOK: Soak 30 to 45 mins in enough boiling water to cover and that’s it – ready to eat. The texture is similar to ground beef and can be added as a filler to your meat. Also great for stuffed tomatoes.
Farro – a complicated wheat grain. Available in different varieties. Has a nutty flavor and a slight crunch to it. TO COOK: In lots of water, as you would pasta. Takes 25 to 1 hr to cook. Farro can be soaked overnight to reduce cooking time. One cup yields 3 cups. Serve in place of rice, or as a stuffing for roast chicken or turkey.
Freekeh – a wheat that has been toasted to accentuate its nutty flavor. Available whole or cracked. TO COOK: Bring 2-1/2 cups liquid to a boil, add 1 cup freekeh, cover and simmer 40 mins. for whole and 20-25 mins. for cracked. Yield about 3 cups. For an awesome side dish, toss with butter, herb, grated lemon zest and lemon juice.
**Millet – is Gluten-Free – High in magnesium – its flavor somewhat like corn with a slight grassy taste (like quinoa). – Easy to prepare – requires no presoaking – and cooks in about 30 mins. total. TO COOK: Bring 2-1/2 cups liquid to a boil, add 1 cup, cover, simmer for 18 mins, then let stand for 10 mins. Yields about 4 cups. Millet can be used in stuffings, folded in cornbread mixtures or muffin mixes, or served in place of mashed potatoes.
**Quinoa – is Gluten-Free – valued for its high protein – earthy, herbal taste – not necessary to rinse quinoa before cooking. TO COOK: Bring 2 cups liquid to a boil, add 1 cup quinoa, cover and simmer 15-20 mins. Yield about 3 cups. For an easy salad, toss with sauteed cherry tomatoes, olive oil, basil leaves and Parmesan cheese. Had quinoa to you side dishes – a great hidden gem that your kids will not know about!!
Rye berries – long cooking time. Tangy flavor. TO COOK: soak overnight, drain, then cook in lots of boiling water for about on hour until tender but still chewy. 1 Cup dried will yield 3 cups. Can be cooked for a hot breakfast cereal – include toasted almonds and dried fruit. Add to a vegetarian meal.
Rye flakes – tangy in flavor – texture is more liked rolled oats – TO COOK: Bring 3 cups liquid to a boil, add 1 cup rye flakes, cover and simmer 15 – 20 mins. Let stand covered for 2 mins. Serve like an oatmeal. Make granola from them. Can be folded into cookie dough or added to bread or muffin recipe.
Spelt berries -mildly sweet and slightly buttery – somewhat chewy like barley, but not starchy. An overnight soak will save time in the cooking process. TO COOK: Cook as you would pasta for 45 mins. Can be eaten as a hot cereal, or tossed in pesto like pasta, or cold in a salad.
**Teff – is Gluten-Free – grains are tiny – High in Calcium and Vitamin C – taste is both sweet and bitter (like chocolate). TO COOK: Bring 3 cups liquid to a boil, add 1 cup teff, cover, and simmer 20 mins. until the liquid has been absorbed. Yield 2-1/2 cups. Sweeten it up with maple syrup, stir it into stew, or make it into a pilaf.
I will say this – eating healthy sure has its benefits.
You eat good, you feel good. You eat healthier, you’ll feel a lot better.
A Few Tips:
- You’ll most likely find most of these grains in health foods stores, such as Sprouts and Central Market and Whole Foods, but some are in grocery stores next to the dried beans and rice.
- Buying in bulk will save you money. Take out what you need and put the rest in the frig. or freezer.
- Cook grains in a large heavy pot to ovoid scorching and starchy runover.
- The cooking time for grains starts when the liquid they’re cooked in returns to a boil.
- I don’t like cooking with salts, but in the case salt brings out the flavor in these grains.
- Properly cooked grains will be chewy, not crunchy or pasty.
- Once cooked, just fluff with a fork – if you stir they will come out more creamy.
Okay, so there you have it. Does this list help you somewhat to know more about these uncertain grains? I hope so. Which ones have you tried before?