Friday, February 22, 2013
FOODIE Fridays: Oh! Those Great Grains!
There are so many different varieties of grains. And I know there are some of you out there who can't eat certain kinds of grains or any due to allergies or other health concerns. My body has alot of trouble digesting certain kinds of protein, mostly animal, which is why I have become vegetarian. But I also have trouble with certain kinds of grains that trigger my IBS. (Yes, I am a mess. hahaha)
I thought I'd share information about some of the best of the 'great grains' out there so you can research them and see if they can be a good addition to your lifestyle. Many are available at your local grocery or specialty store.
~ Wheat Berries: These are whole, unmilled kernels of hard/soft wheat. You can use them in many different recipes. The soft ones take about fifteen minutes to cook.
~ Bulgar: This is a whole wheat berry that are steamed and hulled, then dried and cracked. It is graded according to size into fine, medium and course which are all interchangeable in various recipes.
~ Couscous: This is cracked durum/semoline wehat that has been steamed then dried. North African or Moroccan-type is more of a small pasta-like grain used in stews or curries. It can also be used as the base of salads or stuffing.
~ Israeli couscous: This is small, whie peppercorn-sized toasted semolina pasta (maftoul). This is typically a good alternative to the rice used for risottos or sweet puddings.
~ Barley: This is believed to be the oldest cultivated grain. It most commonly appears in the hulled/polished form and is called 'pearl barley'. Pot barley is when the whole grain is intact, including the bran. This takes loger to cook. The flaked version are processed the same as rolled oats.
~ Cornmeal: This is ground white, yellow or blue corn. It is available in fine, medium or coarse grinds. This is usually used for polenta while the finer grinds are typically used for baking. This would be the best for those on gluten-free diets.
~ Millet: This has a small, round appearance and mild flavour. It is also a gluten-free grain and can be used in baking, breads, pilafs, as well as a base for stews curries or stuffings.
~ Rye: It is similar in shape and slightly darker than wheat kernels. Rye can be ground for baking or processed the same as rolled oats for cereal. When left whole, they can be cooked the same as wheat berries but require alot less cooking time.
~ Spelt: Most cultivated of the ancient grains. They look like wheat grains but slightly smaller. The flour version can be used in baking while the whole hulled grains can be cooked the same as rice for salads and soups.
~ Steel-cut oats: These are hulled oat kernels cut into two or three pieces. They are also known as Irish or Scottish oats.
~ Rolled Oats: Also hulled oat kernels that are steamed then rolled. The quick-cooking version aare made by increasing the heat during the steaming process.
I hope this helps solve some of the mysteries behind these 'great grains'. Be sure to do your research to ensure you are getting the most out of your product.