Whole Grains are cereal grains, comprising of three parts- the germ, the endosperm and the bran. These three parts are present in a raw grain, whereas a refined whole grain contains just the endosperm. In this process of refining, most of the bran and the germ is removed and thus results in the loss of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, phytoestrogens, phenolic compounds, lignin and phytic acid.
As, we have discovered above, about the loss of some vital natural contents of the whole grain on refining, it would be wiser of us, to consume unprocessed grains rather than the refined ones. This will help us retain the nutritional value of the grain, which has a myriad of health benefits.
Why are we stressing on the retention of these components of a grain? Of course, because they are beneficial for our bodies. What benefits do they provide? The answer is that they keep us healthy and you will be shocked to learn about the risks that can be reduced and avoided. Have a look, below.
These grains do not only help in maintaining a proper body weight and keeping us fit but also in reducing the risk of the following chronic diseases:-
If you are a health conscious person and have been reading the information properly, by now, we are sure that you must have planned to include more of unprocessed whole grains in your diet .To aid to this; we are providing you with some rational methods of consumption, provided by the USDA and HHS.
There are some important points to keep a check on, if you want to reap the maximum benefits out of a whole grain. Check them:-
Although, refined grains are better in taste, the nutrient content is higher, when the grain is unrefined. Hence, we have for you, certain points to be scanned:-
Although, by adhering to the aforementioned points, you will surely be able to choose a 100% whole grain product, there are some intrinsic attributes that can help you get the purest, especially, if you are on your way of becoming a chef. Hence, read further.
The identification of a whole grain by its colour, is a very difficult task nowadays, especially when we have dyed, refined bread products in market. The refined grain products are colored in a way so as to make them look healthier and hence can deceive your eyes. So, it’s better to look for the texture. According to the U.S. FDA-Food and Drug Administration look for these three things:-
Any of these features, contain a significant proportion of the original grain, enough for it to be identified as a WHOLE GRAIN.
The labeling of the whole grain food products is done in a way such that 51% of the ingredients are low in fat and are whole grains. Mentioned below is a list of the names of the whole grains to be looked for, in a 100% whole grain product:-
So, by now, we have travelled a comprehensive whole grain store and we cannot help but appreciate the numerous benefits it imparts to the consumers. But, how to consume it? Yes, you can get readymade whole grain products but if you love cooking and want some help in the techniques to know for home cooking, your search ends here. Just scroll down the page and you will agree. Coax out, variety of flavors by using variety of methods, mentioned below:-
This is the most commonly used method of cooking whole grains. It is exactly similar to the way you cook rice i.e. the ABSORPTION METHOD. You need a stovetop and a pot with tight lid.
The water or any liquid that you are about to use, must be poured into the pot, kept on the stove and should be brought to a boil. Pour your grains now, keeping in mind, and the liquid-to-grain ratio which should be apt to allow the absorption of the liquid into the grain particles. Reduce the heat after one more boil, cover the pot and let it be until a soft and chewy texture is formed. In case, you want it creamier (porridge and polenta), more liquid can be added or the grains can be allowed to set, before serving.
Brown rice or large grains such as oat Groats or rye berries will appear fluffy and firm.
This method of preparation is also called as the PASTA METHOD as the technique is similar to that of pasta boiling. This again is a very common method. You again, need a pot for this.
Just add the grains in a pot full of cold water and cook for around 15-20 minutes. The cooked grains are then drained and rinsed thoroughly with cold water in order to maintain the texture. This method is particularly useful if you are unfamiliar with the cooking method of a particular grain as the doneness can be checked and also you do not have to worry about the amount of the liquid, poured.
The grains, such as barley, buckwheat, quinoa and wheat berried can be boiled into stews and soups.
As we know that the whole grains can also be used to make cookies, cakes, muffins, pies and lots of other nutritious treats, the method involved is BAKING. A microwave oven is the best for this type of cooking.
The most important point to remember here is to read the appliance instructions carefully. Power settings need to be adjusted and stirring may be required, in between the baking process. Also, if you are a novice, you need to take care and follow the recipes carefully. The extent of rise will depend on many factors of which the gluten amount of the grain is the most significant.
This is believed to be the most easy and convenient way to cook any type of whole grain. Usually, soaked grains prove to be the best for this method. A bamboo steamer, rice cooker or a steamer pan is used for the same. These appliances come with a nice, detailed instruction book. One needs to follow the cooking times and the measurements mentioned for different recipes.
The absorption method also, benefits, mostly from an ultimate 5-10 minutes of steam. You just need to remove the pot from the stove and cover properly.
This method, demands the use a good pressure cooker. The cookers of this kind, works excellent with whole grains. It is a very time saving method as because; the pressure cookers typically take half the regular time. But, one needs to have some pre hand knowledge, before using this equipment. There are two ways to use a pressure cooker for cooking whole grains- DIRECT cooking method and PIP cooking method.
In case, you are cooking directly, make sure not to fill the liquid by more than half. But in PIP cooking method you need to remember the following steps:-
Also, the PIP ccoking method for cooking in a pressure cooker is considered the best in order to avoid any scorching.
This is a very quick way of making a healthy snack from the whole grain. Teff, quinoa and amaranth are some whole grains which are best to be popped. We need a dry pan with a lid for this.
Put the grains to be popped, in a pre-heated pan. Cover the lid properly. The pan must be frequently shaken until, unless, we get a popping sound. You can top up the popped grains with salt, pepper or even with some herbs. For a more decadent treat, honey or flavored syrup can be added.
It has been observed that soaking the grains helps in increasing the nutritional value of the grain. Also, it converts the grain into a form which is easy to digest. Another advantage of soaking is that it makes the texture softer and hence, reduces the cooking time by around 10 minutes.
The large, chewy grains must be soaked 30 minutes to overnight, prior to cooking, whereas, smaller grains must be soaked to get a consistency of a porridge.
This type of cooking a whole grain is the most suitable for the grains such as millet, quinoa and buckwheat. Toasting ensures the retention of the original nature and qualities of the grain. Also, you should use the best electric skillet for better results.
For toasting, put your skillet on medium heat and cook the grains for 3 to 5 minutes. It should be stirred and shaken frequently, to get a nutty flavor. Also, it must be ensured to get a colour, which is not too brown or you will end up ruining the taste and making it bitter. At last, boil the toasted, hard coated grains in water.
Note- Make sure to put it in already heated water or you will get trapped in a mushy affair.
Versatile? Isn’t it? With so many different methods of using your whole grain, it is quite interesting to make several preparations. Not only the basic methods, but these can also be customized in creative ways to make them more delicious. There are several different recipes, out of which, we are presenting some mouth watering and easy to make dishes, for your perusal.
Time required-36 minutes
Yield- 4 servings
Serving size– 1 and 3/4 cups pasta mixture with 1/2 ounce of cheese
Time Required-2 hours
Servings- 6 pieces each, 8 servings
Time Required-30 minutes
Servings-6 servings (2/3 cups each)
Time required– 30 minutes
Servings– 4 (1 1/4 cups each)
With a plethora of health benefits and so many different recipes, calming yourself with cooking is just a step ahead. This calmness is credited to the mental satisfaction of consuming this nutritious, wholesome grain.