House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.

"Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods." -Ezra Taft Benson-







Saturday, June 26, 2010

Grains.. the staff of life!

ALL PURPOSE FLOUR: When bought from the grocery store, this stuff is nasty! Did you know that flour from the store can and usually does contain corn starch as a cheap filler? I can’t use that stuff. So make it at home, so easy, just grind a bunch of different grains (except hard wheat) together: barley, kamut, triticale, oats, rye, buckwheat, spelt.. whatever you want to! Fresh ground flour makes wonderful foods. Higher in nutrients too.


AMARANTH: can be cooked as a cereal, ground into flour, popped like popcorn, sprouted, or toasted. The seeds can be cooked with other whole grains, added to stir-fry or to soups and stews as a nutrient dense thickening agent. Amaranth flour is used in making pastas and baked goods. It must be mixed with other flours for baking yeast breads, as it contains no gluten. One part amaranth flour to 3-4 parts wheat or other grain flours may be used. In the preparation of flatbreads, pancakes and pastas, 100% amaranth flour can be used. Sprouting the seeds will increase the level of some of the nutrients and the sprouts can be used on sandwiches and in salads, or just to munch on.

To cook amaranth boil 1 cup seeds in 2-1/2 cups liquid such as water or half water and half stock or apple juice until seeds are tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Adding some fresh herbs or gingerroot to the cooking liquid can add interesting flavors or mix with beans for a main dish. For a breakfast cereal increase the cooking liquid to 3 cups and sweeten with Stevia, honey or brown rice syrup and add raisins, dried fruit, allspice and some nuts.

Amaranth has a "sticky" texture that contrasts with the fluffier texture of most grains and care should be taken not to overcook it as it can become "gummy." Amaranth flavor is mild, sweet, nutty, and malt like, with a variance in flavor according to the variety being used.

Amaranth species are cultivated and consumed as a leaf vegetable in many parts of the world. There are 4 species of Amaranthus documented as cultivated vegetables in eastern Asia: Amaranthus cruentus, Amaranthus blitum, Amaranthus dubius, andAmaranthus tricolor

BARLEY: Barley is a wonderfully versatile cereal grain with a rich nutlike flavor and an appealing chewy, pasta-like consistency. Its appearance resembles wheat berries, although it is slightly lighter in color. Sprouted barley is naturally high in maltose, a sugar that serves as the basis for both malt syrup sweetener. When fermented, barley is used as an ingredient in beer and other alcoholic beverages. In addition to its robust flavor, barley's claim to nutritional fame is based on its being a very good source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese.Great website on BARLEY, too much to list.. 

BUCKWHEAT (RAW): Energizing and nutritious, buckwheat is available throughout the year and can be served as an alternative to rice or made into porridge. While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens. Buckwheat flowers are very fragrant and are attractive to bees that use them to produce a special, strongly flavored, dark honey.

Medicinally, buckwheat is great for helping with reducing hemorrhaging and high blood pressure. It also helps people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Buckwheat and other whole grains are also a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body's use of glucose and insulin secretion. Great site on Buckwheat!

MILLET: Although millet is most often associated as the main ingredient in bird seed, it is not just "for the birds." Creamy like mashed potatoes or fluffy like rice, millet is a delicious grain that can accompany many types of food. As with most grains, millet is available in markets throughout the year.

Millet is tiny in size and round in shape and can be white, gray, yellow or red. The most widely available form of millet found in stores is the pearled, hulled variety, although traditional couscous made from cracked millet can also be found. HIGH in protein! To use it, you have to rinse it under cold water in a fine sieve for 5 to 10 minutes. This is to wash off the saponin which protects it from predators. Saponin is very bitter and will ruin your dish. After rinsing, it is best to toast it; do this by draining WELL and then putting into warm cast iron skillet, stirring constantly until it is dry and not steaming anymore. Then cool. You can now grind it or cook it as cereal. The toasting adds depth to the flavor.

Millets are some of the oldest of cultivated crops. The term millet is applied to various grass crops whose seeds are harvested for food or feed. The five millet species of commercial importance are proso, foxtail, barnyard, browntop and pearl. In China, records of culture for foxtail and proso millet extend back to 2000 to 1000 BCFoxtail millet (Setaria italica L.) probably originated in southern Asia and is the oldest of the cultivated millets. It is also known as Italian or German Millet. Its culture slowly spread westward towards Europe. Foxtail millet was rarely grown in the U.S. during colonial times, but its acreage increased dramatically in the Great Plains after 1850. However, with the introduction of Sudan grass, acreage planted to foxtail millet decreased. Today, foxtail millet is grown primarily in eastern Asia. Proso millet is grown in the Soviet Union, mainland China, India and western Europe. In the United States, both millets are grown principally in the Dakotas, Colorado and Nebraska.

We use millet in place of corn meal ALWAYS!! Great site on Millet!

OATS: What better way to gain the strength and energy to carry you through a hectic morning schedule than with a steaming bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal. Oats are harvested in the fall but are available throughout the year and can add extra nutrition to a variety of healthy dishes.Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, are a hardy cereal grain able to withstand poor soil conditions in which other crops are unable to thrive. Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients. Great site on Oats!

QUINOA: Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Quinoa is available in your local health food stores throughout the year. Like Millet, you must rinse quinoa for 5 to 10 minutes under running cold water before using it, DRAIN WELL, then you can either toast it in a medium hot pan until it stops steaming ( I use my cast iron skillet for this) or just throw it into your soup or boiling broth or apple juice.

Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient "grain".

A recently rediscovered ancient "grain" native to South America, quinoa was once called "the gold of the Incas," who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa's amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.Super info on Quinoa!

RICES: brown and white. Either way it’s rice 

ARBORIO RICE: is an Italian short-grain rice. It is named after the town of Arborio in the Po Valley, where it is grown. Cooked, the rounded grains are firm, creamy, and chewy, due to the higheramylopectin starch content of this rice variety[1], thus they have a starchy taste of their own, yet blend well with other flavors. It is used to make risotto, although Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are more commonly used to prepare the dish. Arborio rice is also used for rice pudding

BROWN/WHITE RICE: Brown rice and white rice have similar amounts of calories, carbohydrates, and protein. The main differences between the two forms of rice lie in processing and nutritional content. When only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk) is removed, brown rice is produced. To produce white rice, the next layers underneath the husk (the bran layer and the germ) are removed, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm. Several vitamins and dietary minerals are lost in this removal and the subsequent polishing process. A part of these missing nutrients, such as vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and iron are sometimes added back into the white rice making it "enriched", as food suppliers in the US are required to do by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). [1] One mineral not added back into white rice is magnesium; one cup (195 grams) of cooked long grain brown rice contains 84 mg of magnesium while one cup of white rice contains 19 mg. When the bran layer is removed to make white rice, the oil in the bran is also removed. Rice bran oil may help lower LDL cholesterol.[2] Among other key sources of nutrition lost are small amounts of fatty acids and fiber. In addition to having greater nutritional value, brown rice is also said to be less constipating than white rice. Great site on rice!

WHITE RICE: is the product of fully hulled rice kernels. Sometimes polished; comes in long, medium and short grain. If choosing a white rice, stay away from parboiled and instant, they have very little nutritional value and raise your blood sugar rapidly.

SPELT: A wonderfully nutritious and ancient grain with a deep nutlike flavor, spelt is a cousin to wheat that is recently receiving renewed recognition. Spelt products can be found in your local health food store year-round.

Spelt is an ancient grain that traces its heritage back long before many wheat hybrids. Many of its benefits come from the fact that it offers a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to many of its more inbred cousins in the wheat family. It can be used in many of the same ways as wheat including bread and pasta making. Spelt does not seem to cause sensitivities in many people who are intolerant of wheat. Site for Spelt!
TEFF: Teff is a fine grain, about the size of a poppy seed that comes in a variety of colors, from white and red to dark brown. With a physiology that can withstand high heat and bright light, teff thrives even in unpredictable and difficult climates. Teff grows predominantly in Ethiopia and Eritrea. As such, teff comprises the staple grain of their cuisines. Ground into flour, teff is used to make the traditional bread, injera - a flat, pancake-like, slightly sour bread that complements well the exotic spices found in the food. One pound of teff can produce up to one ton of grain in only 12 weeks! This amount is hundreds of times smaller than that required for planting wheat. This productive potential and minimal time and seed requirements have protected the Ethiopians from hunger when their food supply was under attack from numerous invaders in the past. Some is now grown in Idaho, by the snake river. Terrific Teff site!
WHEATS: Six classes bring order to about 30 thousand varieties of wheat. They are: Hard Red Winter, Hard Red Spring, Soft Red Winter, Durum, Hard White and Soft White. Soft wheat is for cookies, muffins, pastries and non-yeast breads. Hard wheat is for yeast bread and artesian bread.

FACTS: Crackers main ingredient is unbleached flour from soft red or soft white wheat.

The graham cracker was named for its inventor, Sylvester Graham, a 19th-century American clergyman and nutrition advocate.

The state of Kansas is the largest wheat producer in the United States with North Dakota a close second.

One bushel of wheat weighs approximately 60 pounds.

A bushel of wheat makes about 90 one-pound loaves of whole wheat bread.

DURUM WHEAT: the hardest of all U.S. wheats, is seeded in the spring and contains a high amount of protein (12 16%), which is good for pasta products macaroni, spaghetti, and other noodles. Durum wheat is grown mainly in North Dakota and has subclasses such as Hard Amber Durum, Amber Durum, and Durum wheats.

HARD RED SPRING WHEAT (berries): IF you think you are allergic to wheat, it is actually most likely that you are sensitive to the natural tannins in red wheat. IF you are sensitive to RW, try white instead. Nutritional composition of hard red and white wheat is the same.

Raw wheat can be powdered into flour; germinated and dried creating malt; crushed or cut into cracked wheat; parboiled (or steamed), dried, crushed and de-branned into bulgur; or processed into semolina, pasta, or roux. Wheat is a major ingredient in such foods as bread, porridge, crackers, biscuits, Muesli, pancakes, pies, pastries, cakes, cookies, muffins, rolls, doughnuts, gravy, boza (a fermented beverage), and breakfast cereals

Contains the highest protein content (13 16.5%) making it an excellent bread wheat with superior milling and baking characteristics. Hard red spring wheat is grown mostly in Montana, the Dakotas, and Minnesota. This wheat is seeded in the spring and may have either a hard or a soft endosperm. Subclasses are Dark Northern Spring, Northern Spring, and Red Spring wheats.

Great site on Wheat!

HARD RED WINTER WHEAT (berries): is the class of wheat used mostly for bread and all-purpose flour. This wheat is fall-seeded, has medium to high protein content (10 13.5%), and can have either hard or soft endosperm. Hard red winter wheat accounts for more than 40% of the U.S. wheat crop and half of U.S. wheat exports. This wheat is produced in the Great Plains, between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, and from Texas to the Dakotas and Montana. It has a wide range of protein and good milling and baking qualities. The flour is used to produce bread, rolls, some sweet goods, and all-purpose flour.

HARD WHITE SPRING WHEAT (berries): is the newest class of wheat to be grown in the United States. Hard white wheat is closely related to red wheats except for the color genes and has a milder, sweeter flavor, equal fiber, and similar milling and baking qualities. Hard white wheat is used in yeast breads, hard rolls, bulgur, tortillas, and oriental noodles.

KAMUT: is a wheat!! In fact all wheats come from the genus TRITICUM. This heritage wheat is sweet and great in bread, cookies, muffins, and just about anything. Nutritionally superior, it can be substituted for common wheat with great success. Kamut brand wheat has a rich, buttery flavor, and is easily digested. A hard amber spring type wheat with a huge humped back kernel, this grain is "untouched" by modern plant breeding programs which appear to have sacrificed flavor and nutrition for higher yields dependent upon large amounts of synthetic agricultural inputs.

Although the Kamut brand wheat is thousands of years old, it is a new addition to North American rain productions. It's origins are intriguing. Following WWII, a US airman claimed to have taken a handful of this grain from a stone box in a tomb near Dashare, Egypt.

Kamut Brand Wheat can be found in cereals, breads, cookies, snacks, waffles, pancakes, bread mixes, baked goods, and prepared and frozen meals. Because of the inherent sweetness of this grain (referred to by some as "the sweet wheat"), no sugar is required to hide the subtle bitterness associated with most wheats and whole wheat products. Many are utilizing the natural firmness of the kernels to produce tasty pilafs, cold salads, soups, or a substitute for beans in chili. Great website on Kamut!

RYE: is a cereal grain that looks like wheat but is longer and more slender and varies in color from yellowish brown to grayish green. It is generally available in its whole or cracked grain form or as flour or flakes that look similar to old-fashioned oats. Because it is difficult to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm of rye, rye flour usually retains a large quantity of nutrients, in contrast to refined wheat flour. Wonderful info on Rye!
SOFT RED WINTER WHEAT (berries): is seeded in the fall, has a low to medium protein content with soft endosperm, and is used to make cakes, pastries, flat breads, and crackers. It is grown east of the Mississippi and has no subclasses. Ohio is the leading producer of soft red winter wheat followed by Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri. Ohio wheat is known for making higher-quality flour than that coming from any other soft red winter wheat-producing state.

SOFT WHITE WHEAT (berries): is used much the same way as soft red wheat (for bakery products other than bread) and is grown mostly in the Pacific Northwest and to a lesser extent in California, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York. Soft white wheat has low protein and high yields. Subclasses are Soft White, White Club, and Western White wheats.

TRITICALE: Triticale (trit-ah-kay-lee) is a close relative of wheat that results from pollinating durum wheat with rye pollen, then using that cross in a breeding program to produce stable, self-replicating varieties. It is a man-made crop. Triticale is a hybrid that is a cross between wheat and rye and is used in grain production or more commonly as forage. Washington is the leading grower of triticale in the United States. Currently some triticale- based foods are available in health food stores and in some breakfast cereals. Triticale is a deep-rooted crop with almost twice the root mass of other cereals. As a rotational crop, it reduces soil erosion, can capture excess soil nitrogen, and requires very few pesticides. This makes it a good crop for organic farming. There are both spring and winter varieties. Triticale is produced in Adams and Franklin counties.

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