The Skinny On Whole Grains
A Grain Glossary continued...
Amaranth is a tiny grain native to Mexico. It's one of the few whole grains
that contain all of the essential amino acids, making it an ideal source of
protein. Choose it as a hot cereal, add to soups as a thickener, or use as a
flour in pancakes and quick breads.
Buckwheat isn't actually a wheat, but a fruit seed in the rhubarb family.
It's quick-cooking, gluten-free, and a good source of fiber and magnesium. Most
familiar to Americans in the form of buckwheat pancakes, it's a grain with
global popularity, found in everything from Japanese soba noodles to Russian
Bulgur cooks so quickly (in less than 15 minutes) because it has been
boiled, dried, and cracked before reaching the supermarket. Perfect for fast
side dishes and salads-and the main ingredient in tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern
dish-bulgur has a mild flavor that makes it a great starter grain for kids (and
husbands) who are picky eaters. Cracked wheat, often confused with bulgur, is
actually raw wheat kernels that have been cracked to speed the cooking
Farro (emmer wheat), nicknamed the Pharaoh's wheat, was a culinary
cornerstone of ancient Egyptian and Roman menus. It gradually fell out of favor
because it was low-yield and difficult to hull. Now grown primarily in Italy,
where it's known as farro, this nutty-flavored grain is undergoing a resurgence
as a gourmet grain. Try it in soups, or use as an alternative to Arborio rice
Quinoa (pronounced keen-WAH), grown in the South American Andes since 3,000
BC, is a nutrient-dense supergrain. Mild and slightly sweet, quinoa needs to be
rinsed thoroughly prior to cooking in order to remove its bitter-tasting
coating. A complete protein, it cooks in less than 15 minutes and can
substitute for rice in most dishes.
Wheat berries are actually whole kernels of wheat. When processed to remove
the bran and the germ, then ground into powder, they become white flour. If
they are unprocessed, they're a whole grain. Chewy, with a hint of nuttiness,
the kernels are versatile add-ins to salads, soups, and side dishes. Wheat
berries need at least an hour to cook, although that time can be reduced if
they've been soaked overnight.