Whole grains and how to cook them

Whole grains and how to cook them

WHOLE GRAINS & how to cook them...

These tips will help you to learn more on how to prepare whole grains in a way that you, your family and friends can enjoy as much as we do. Often these grains are in our kitchen but they can be intimidating to cook with if you have never used them before.

Whole Grains and how to Cook them
Whole Grains

Also, we would like to share background information why whole grains are so nutritious. 

Background on nutrition and history...

There are three main components of a grain: the germ, the endosperm and the bran. The germ constitutes the heart of the grain. This is where growth occurs, it is rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, B vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants. It is separated from the endosperm by a membrane. This layer is very rich in micro minerals to nourish the germinating plant and as such, eating the germ would provide a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals. The endosperm provides a supply of food to the new plant to keep it alive until it can generate its own through photosynthesis. It contains 70% starch and 12 % protein. The Bran is a fibrous protective outer coat that supplies B vitamins, iron, chopper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants and phytochemicals. 

The invention of industrialised roller mills in the late 19th century changed the way grains were processed. Milling stripes away the bran and germ and leaves only the soft, easy to digest endosperm. The germ is removed because of its fat content, which can limit the shelf life of processed wheat products. Without the fibrous bran, the grain is easier to chew, and refining wheat creates fluffy flour that makes light, airy bread and pastries. The resulting highly processed grains are much lower in nutritional quality and excessively starchy and high in gluten. Also, refined grains are often enriched, which means that some of the B vitamins and iron are added back in after processing. But fortifying flour after processing could never replace what has been nutritionally lost. 

In practice...

First, the measurements of water we give you can vary depending on the brand you buy in your local store. It will take one or two experiments to find out the perfect amount of water for the kind of grain. These following recipes are based on 500 g of a whole grain, this is a lot, on purpose, so you can store them in your fridge and make a lot of wonderful, super simple recipes in the day following.

Tip 1: Generally, we recommend spreading the cooked grains out on a big baking tray to cool down. Leaving them in the pot will steam them further and maybe soften too much. Once cooled they are easily stored airtight for 5 days in your refrigerator. 

Tip 2: Grains are boring? Yes, they can be, but there are some simple ingredients you can add already during the cooking process for a different outcome every time. For example:

1 tbsp ground turmeric or curry powder

1 tbsp Harissa or tomato mark

1 tbsp Dried thyme or oregano

5 Bay leaves, curry leaves or lime leaves

Exchange 100 ml of water for 100 ml of beetroot juice or carrot juice (extra iron!)

One chopped onion

Tip 3: Take 100 g of your cooked grains from the fridge, mix in 1 tbsp of vegetable broth and place in a 180°C hot oven for 15 minutes, then add nuts, herbs or dry fruit.  


Millet
  • In a big bowl add 500g of millet and one litre of warm water.
  • Wash and massage until the water is cloudy, then carefully drain it. Continue this process six times or until the water is clear. 
  • Drain in a sifter before placing it in a big 3 litre pot. 
  • Add 1 litre of cold water with 1 tsp of salt, close with a lit and bring to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. 
  • Turn off the heat and let it steam with the lit on for another 15 minutes. 

Enjoy right away or fluff it up gently with a big fork and spread it out on a big baking tray to cool down. 

Whole grain rice
  • In a big bowl add 500g of brown rice and one 1 litre of warm water.
  • Wash and massage until the water is cloudy, then carefully drain it. Continue this process three times or until the water is clear.
  • Drain in a sifter before placing it in a big 3 litre pot. 
  • Add 1 1/2l of warm water with 1/2 tsp of salt and let it soak for two hours.
  • Close with a lit and bring to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Place a kitchen owl in between the pot and the lit and let it simmer for 40 minutes. 
  • Turn off the heat and let it steam for 15 minutes without a lid. 

Enjoy right away or fluff it up gently with a big fork and spread it out on a big baking tray to cool down. 

Quinoa
  • In a big bowl add 500g of Quinoa and one 1 litre of warm water.
  • Wash and massage until the water is cloudy, then carefully drain it. Continue this process two times or until the water is clear.
  • Drain in a sifter placing it in a big 3 litre pot. 
  • Add 1 litre of warm water with 1/2 tsp of salt, close with a lit and bring to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. 
  • Turn off the heat and let it steam for 10 minutes without a lit. 

Enjoy right away or fluff it up gently with a big fork and spread it out on a big baking tray to cool down. 

Pearl barley wheat
  • Place 500 g of grains and 2 litres of vegetable stock in a big open pot, bring to boil. Then turn down heat and let simmer for 25 minutes. 
  • When soft, pour the grains in a sifter and catch the broth, it has a lot of nutrients.

Enjoy right away or fluff it up gently with a big fork and spread it out on a big baking tray to cool down. 

Whole grain cous-cous
  • Bring 750 ml of vegetable broth to boil. Place 500 g of cous-cous in a separate pot and pour the broth over it, close with a lit and let soak for 5 minutes. 
  • Blend 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of lemon zest and 2 tbsp lemon juice.
  • Test if the cous-cous is ready, it should be very fluffy and light. Gently sprinkle the oil mixture on top and fluff up with a big fork. 

Enjoy right away or fluff it up gently with a big fork and spread it out on a big baking tray to cool down. 

Spelt
  • Place 500 g of spelt and 2 litres of vegetable broth in a pot and bring to boil. Let it simmer on low heat for 20 minutes with a lit on. It's ready when the grains are soft but still hold their shape. 
  • When ready, pour into a colander, catch the broth and use it for a soup base etc. 

Enjoy right away or fluff it up gently with a big fork and spread it out on a big baking tray to cool down. 

Bulgur wheat
  • Place 500 g of bulgur in a heat-proof bowl.
  • Bring 1 litre of water and ½ tsp salt to boil and pour the water over the bulgur.
  • Cover the bowl and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • When the bulgur reaches the desired consistency, pour it into a colander over a sink to drain off the excess water.

Enjoy right away or fluff it up gently with a big fork and spread it out on a big baking tray to cool down. 


Spelt and beetroot risotto 

One of our favourite recipes at the moment is a Spelt Risotto. 

Spelt and Beetroot Risotto
Spelt and Beetroot Risotto
Ingredients 

• 300 g Spelt 

• 1000 ml Vegetable broth 

• 2 Onion Finely chopped 

• 2 tsp Thyme 

• 2 tbsp Shiitake mushrooms powder 

• 2 tsp Turmeric powder 

• 2 tbsp Olive oil 

• 500 ml Vegetable stock 

• 100 ml Beetroot juice 

• 2 tsp Nut butter Almond, peanut, cashew 

• 4 tbsp Nutritional yeast flakes 

• 2 tsp Lemon zest 

• 2 tbsp Lemon juice 

• 1 handful Fresh herbs Coriander, basil, parsley 

• Salt & Pepper 


Instructions 

In a pot bring spelt and broth to boil, then cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Check the consistency after 15 minutes, it should be soft but still have a bite to it, if necessary simmer for 5 more minutes or until ready. Drain the spelt and catch the cooking water for further use.  Place chopped onions, thyme, mushrooms powder, turmeric and olive oil in a pan and fry lightly for one minute. Then pour in the broth and beetroot juice. Add the nut butter, stir it in before adding the spelt grains and stir well for 3 minutes while it is boiling. Then reduce the heat and add nutritional yeast, lemon zest, lemon juice and let it simmer for another five minutes until creamy. Now the risotto has juice to it, the longer you will let it sit, the more moisture will be absorbed by the grains. Taste for salt and pepper, add the fresh herbs on top and we like adding a splash of fresh beetroot juice for the bright colour. 


Hope this blog post is useful and if you have any whole grain recipes you would like to share with us then please email us on austria@wearactive.com and tag any food photos with #relaxinglyactive.

Once again the fantastic photographs and recipes are by Becca, check out her website for more recipe inspiration.









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