Grains Category

Grains

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Grains form the base of the Food Guide Pyramid, and nutritionists are constantly nagging us to eat more of them, since they're high in nutrients, low in fat, and dirt cheap.


Cooks usually consign grains to supporting roles, letting them absorb the flavors of other ingredients while adding texture and body. It often helps to toast grains briefly before cooking them so as to bring out the flavor and speed up the cooking time.


Most grains have been processed by the time they reach us. The first step at the mill is to remove the inedible outer hull, yielding what's called a whole grain, berry, or groat. Whole grains are nutritious, but they're chewy and slow to cook.


To fix that, the nutritious bran layer beneath the hull is sometimes scoured off as well, resulting in a pearled or polished grain. Whole or polished grains are then sometimes ground, rolled, or chopped into flakes, small grits, meal, or flour.

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, flaked triticale, rolled triticale
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, hard wheat berries, whole 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, rolled wheat
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, maiz blanco
white corn
Peruvians make popcorn and corn nuts out of this.
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white rice, pearled rice, polished 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, berries, groats
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, 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, Canada rice, Indian rice, water oats
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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