Grains

Grains
pearl barley
pearl barley
This is the most common form of barley, but not the most nutritious. While hulled barley loses only the thick outer hull in the milling process, pearl barley is stripped of the nutritious bran layer as well, leaving just the "pearl" inside. Despite this, it's still fairly nutritious. It takes about an hour to cook.
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pearled grains
pearled grains
These are more processed than whole grains. This makes them less nutritious but they cook up faster and have a more tender texture.
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pinipig
pinipig
Filipino cooks use these glutinous rice flakes to make desserts and drinks.
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popcorn
popcorn
Air-popped popcorn is a terrific snack that's high in fiber and low in fat -- assuming that you don't add lots of butter and salt.
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popcorn rice
This rice is a cross between basmati and American long-grain. Common brands include Texmati, Delta Rose, and Cajun Country Popcorn.
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pot barley
pot barley
This isn't as heavily processed as pearl barley, in that the endosperm is left intact, along with the inner pearl of the kernel. It takes about an hour to cook. Look for it in health food stores.
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psyllium seed husks
psyllium seed husks
This is a good source of soluble fiber, and is often used as a laxative. Make sure you drink lots of water along with it.
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puffed rice
puffed rice
Look for this in Indian markets. Substitutes: Rice Krispies
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purple corn
purple corn
Peruvians use this to make beautiful purple drinks and puddings
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quick oats
quick oats
These are thin flakes of oatmeal that cook up in about three or four minutes. They're a good choice for oatmeal cookies.
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quick-cooking barley
quick-cooking barley
This is similar to pearl barley in taste and nutrients, but it only takes about 10 minutes to cook since it's been pre-steamed. It's often served either hot as a side dish or cold in a salad.
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quinoa
quinoa
This ancient seed was a staple of the Incas. It cooks quickly and has a mild flavor and a delightful, slightly crunchy, texture. It's got a lot of the amino acid lysine, so it provides a more complete protein than many other cereal grains. It comes in different colors, ranging from a pale yellow to red to black. Rinse quinoa before using to remove its bitter natural coating.
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quinoa flakes
quinoa flakes
This is steamed, rolled, and flaked quinoa. It's used like oatmeal to make a hot cereal.
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Rice
Rice
Rice is the most important food crop in Asia. It can be cooked whole and served with stir-fries, sauces, and curries, or made into flour, wine, cakes, vinegar, milk, flakes, noodles, paper, and tea. Rice is classified mostly by the size of the grain. Long-grain rice is long and slender. The grains stay separate and fluffy after cooking, so this is the best choice if you want to serve rice as a side dish, or as a bed for sauces. Medium-grain rice is shorter and plumper, and works well in paella and risotto. Short-grain rice is almost round, with moist grains that stick together when cooked. It's the best choice for rice pudding and molded salads. Other specialty varieties include Spanish rice for paella, glutinous rice for sushi and rice balls, and risotto rice for risotto. Most varieties are sold as either brown or white rice, depending upon how they are milled. Brown rice retains the bran that surrounds the kernel, making it chewier, nuttier, and richer in nutrients. White rice lacks the bran and germ, but is more tender and delicate. It's less nutritious than brown rice, but you can partially compensate for that by getting enriched white rice. Brown rice takes about twice as long to cook as white rice. Converted rice is beige. It tastes a lot like white rice, but it has more nutrients. Instant rice is white rice that's been precooked and dehydrated. It's convenient, but expensive and bland.
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risotto rice
risotto rice
This plump white rice can absorb lots of water without getting mushy, so it's perfect for making risotto. The best comes from Italy. Arborio is very well-regarded, but Carnaroli, Roma, Baldo, Padano, and vialone nano = nano are also good. The highest Italian risotto rice grade is superfino. Lesser grades are (in descending order) fino, semi-fino, and commune. You can sometimes find brown risotto rice, which has more fiber and nutrients, but it isn't nearly as creamy as white risotto rice. Never rinse risotto rice--you'll wash off the starch that gives it such a creamy consistency.
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rolled oats
rolled oats
These are oat groats that are steamed, rolled, and flaked so that they cook quickly. They're often cooked as a breakfast cereal, added raw to granola or muesli mixes, or used to make oatmeal cookies. Regular rolled oats take about five minutes to cook. If you're in a hurry, try quick oats or instant oats. These have thinner flakes, so they cook faster
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Rye
Rye
Rye isn't as nutritious as other grains, but it's hardy enough to grow in very cold climates. This has made it a staple of Northern Europeans, who use it to make breads, crackers, and whiskey. It has a distinctive, hearty flavor that's best when combined with other assertive ingredients. Substitutes: triticale.
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rye berries
rye berries
Soak these overnight before cooking. Soaked and cooked rye berries are sometimes added to breads for extra texture, or used to make pilafs or hot breakfast cereals.
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rye flakes
rye flakes
These are often combined with other grains, then cooked to make a hot breakfast cereal.
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short-grain rice
short-grain rice
This is sticky, though not as much as glutinous rice. It's a good choice if you're making sushi or rice pudding, and it also works pretty well in a risotto or paella. Brown short-grain rice isn't as sticky.
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soft wheat berries
soft wheat berries
These are softer than hard wheat berries.
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Spanish rice
Spanish rice
This is a medium-grain rice that's perfectly suited to making paella. Varieties include include Granza rice, and the highly regarded (but difficult to find) Valencia rice.
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Spelt
Spelt
Spelt has been around for thousands of years, but it's recently enjoying a resurgence in popularity. It's believed to be a relative of wheat, and it tastes like a mild version of it. Though it contains gluten, it's tolerated by many people who are allergic to gluten.
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spelt berries
spelt berries
Spelt has a nutty flavor, similar to that of wheat. Though it contains gluten, it's often tolerated by people with wheat allergies.
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spelt flakes
spelt flakes
Like rolled oats, spelt flakes are commonly cooked to make a hot breakfast cereal.
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sprouting barley
sprouting barley
This is unrefined barley, used for making barley sprouts. Don't try to cook with it--it's got a very thick hull.
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steel-cut oats
steel-cut oats
These are groats that have been chopped into small pieces. They're chewier than rolled oats, and grain aficionados often prefer them for hot oatmeal cereals and muesli
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teff
teff
This Ethiopian staple is the world's smallest grain. Since it's too tiny to process, teff isn't stripped of nutrients like other, more refined grains. As a result, it's a nutritional powerhouse, especially rich in protein and calcium, and it's gluten-free. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and is sometimes eaten as a hot breakfast cereal. It comes in different colors that range from creamy white to reddish-brown.
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Thai purple sticky rice
Thai purple sticky rice
This turns a rich dark purple when cooked. The color bleeds, so it's best to pair it with other dark ingredients. Thai cooks often use it in desserts.
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triticale
triticale
Triticale is a wheat-rye cross that's higher in protein than either of its parents. It has a pleasant enough wheat-like flavor, but it's prized mostly for its hardiness and ability to grow in poor soils.
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triticale berries
triticale berries
Triticale berries are similar to wheat berries, though they also have a subtle rye flavor.
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triticale flakes
triticale flakes
You can use these like rolled oats to make a hot breakfast cereal. They cook up in about 15 minutes.
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unhulled buckwheat groats
unhulled buckwheat groats
These are used for making sprouts.
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Wehani rice
Wehani rice
This russet-colored rice is derived from basmati rice.
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wheat
wheat
Wheat's got a pleasant, nutty flavor and lots of nutrients, but it's prized most for being rich in gluten, the stuff that makes baked goods rise. Most wheat is ground into flour, but whole or cracked grains are used in pilafs and salads, and wheat flakes are made into hot cereals or granolas.
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wheat berries
wheat berries
These are wheat kernels that have been stripped only of their inedible outer hulls. They're nutritious, but they take hours to cook. If you don't have the patience to use the whole berries, try the more convenient cracked wheat, bulgur, or wheat flakes.
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wheat flakes
wheat flakes
This is wheat that's been steamed, rolled, and flaked. Wheat flakes are often cooked as a hot cereal, or added raw to granola mixes.
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white corn
white corn
Peruvians make popcorn and corn nuts out of this.
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white rice
white rice
Most varieties of rice are processed into white rice at the mill, where the grains are scoured to remove the husk, bran, and part of the germ. This processing strips some of the nutrients, but make the rice tender and fast-cooking. Many producers sell enriched white rice, which restores some of the nutrients. If well-sealed, white rice can be stored almost indefinitely in a cool, dry place.
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whole grains
whole grains
These are grains that are either unprocessed or stripped only of their tough outer hulls. By themselves, whole grains are bland, so it's best to combine them with more assertive ingredients. It also helps to toast the grains before cooking them--this boosts their flavor and speeds up the cooking a bit.
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wild pecan rice
wild pecan rice
This chewy, nutty-tasting hybrid contains neither wild rice nor pecans. It's only partially milled, so it retains some of the bran and has a nutty flavor.
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wild rice
wild rice
This isn't a rice, but rather a grass seed. Compared to rice, it's richer in protein and other nutrients and has a more distinctive, nutty flavor. The downside is that it's more expensive than rice and takes longer to cook. It's especially good with poultry and game. Cultivated wild rice isn't as expensive--nor as flavorful--as "wild" wild rice.
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