» » »
Whole Grain Basic Info
Amaranth is a colorful crop.
Technically it is not a cereal grain but a relative of
spinach and chard. You may know it as 'love lies
bleeding', a gorgeous garden ornamental with vivid
foot long magenta seed heads. One seed head of amaranth
contains over 50,000 seeds. The purple or green leaves,
when small and tender, are an excellent pot herb. The
seed has an intense earthy and mildly peppery taste. Compared
to amaranth's brilliant reddish purple seed head,
the seed itself is less dramatic in appearance. It is
round, buff or sometimes dark colored and smaller than
a mustard seed.
The Pueblo peoples revered amaranth as their staple since
their earliest history. Farther south where it originated
5000 years ago, the Aztec regarded amaranth as sacred
and used it in religious rituals. The Aztec emperor Montezuma
annually collected 200,000 bushels of amaranth for tax.
This tiny seed was preferred over the Aztec staple corn
because amaranth is nutritionally superior to corn.
Today amaranth is valued worldwide. The United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization has fostered amaranth's
use since 1967 because wherever it is consumed there is
no malnutrition. Amaranth has more protein than wheat
and higher in the amino acid lysine than other grain sources
Botanists note that amaranth belongs to a remarkable group
of photosynthetic super performers called the C4 group,
meaning it is super efficient in converting soil, sunlight,
and water into plant tissue.
Amaranth flour has a distinctive flavor and blends well
with other flours for bread, crackers, and savory dishes.
It is gluten free and not suitable as a wheat replacement
in yeasted products.
Store whole amaranth in a glass jar in a cool dark cupboard.
It will store for up to a year. If you live in a hot damp
environment, refrigerate amaranth to prevent infestation.
If the amaranth develops an acrid, bitter flavor it has
become rancid and should be discarded.
Possibly the easiest way to cultivate an appreciation
for amaranth is to add about a tablespoon to a pot of
rice and cook them together, or use it to thicken a soup
Try popping amaranth. It loses its peppery flavor and
becomes sweet and crunchy. Heat a thin pot over high heat
(do not use cast iron or a pan with low sides). The pan
must be very hot. When hot, add 2 tablespoons amaranth
seeds and stir continuously until most of the grains have
popped and those that do not pop are a shade or two darker.
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 cup amaranth
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon EDEN Sea Salt (optional)
- 1 inch piece of EDEN Kombu (optional)
Toast amaranth, stirring continuously, until the grain
is lightly aromatic. Place with 1 1/2 cups water or stock
in a small saucepan. Season with sea salt, oil, and kombu
(optional). Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Allow to steam for 5 minutes, covered. Remove kombu if
using. Stir amaranth from top to bottom and serve.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare)
Possibly the oldest cultivated
cereal, barley was the standard currency in Babylonia
and the basic measuring unit in Sumeria. Barley is the
most widely adaptable grain on our planet. It grows in
regions as extreme and varied as the frigid Tibetan heights
and the blistering sea level Sahara. Barley remains the
staple of the physically strong peoples of the Himalayan
region. In the west it is most commonly malted for beer.
Whole barley is a dark colored grain, larger and plumper
than all others except corn. The most common barley has
a tough hull and bran that adhere so tightly to the grain's
starchy core that they it must be 'pearled'
or shaved off until only a small white 'pearl' of barley
remains. The hull of whole or 'nude' barley,
which is sometimes available in natural food stores, easily
thrashes off leaving its bran intact and so its vitamin
and mineral content is intact and it is higher in protein,
potassium, calcium, and iron than is pearl barley.
The most acid of the grains, barley is made more alkaline
and flavorful by toasting it prior to cooking. The thin
gruel 'barley water' is a traditional convalescing
food of the British. Hulled or whole barley contains two
to three times the protein of an equal portion of rice.
Barley cooks into a chewy sustaining dish. Try it plain,
combined with brown rice, cooked with a pot of beans,
or cooked with extra water to make a breakfast porridge.
It is especially delicious cooked risotto style. Barley
is a classic soup and stew ingredient and a pleasant rice
WHOLE BARLEY has its bran
intact and therefore takes more time to cook. Like brown
rice is to white, whole barley is darker, chewier, and
more nutritious than is pearled barley. Whole barley includes
hull less or naked barley heirloom varieties which easily
thresh free from the hull and are an ideal grain for backyard
gardeners and subsistence farmers.
PEARLED (or PEARL) BARLEY has had its bran polished off.
EDEN Pearled Barley can be found in natural food stores
in the bulk section (please ask for it by name). It is
organically grown and milled, and has undergone less pearling
than commercial pearled barley, as is indicated by its
SEMI-HULLED BARLEY has been lightly pearled (its tough
hull scoured off). The demand for semi-hulled barley is
not large and it is only sporadically available.
BARLEY FLAKES are like rolled oats and make a tasty substitute
for oats in hot breakfast cereal, granola, and muesli.
BARLEY GRITS are quick cooking tiny chunks of barley .
Use grits as a hot breakfast cereal and for a barley polenta.
The grit size and therefore its cooking time varies by
BARLEY FLOUR is starchy, soft, and has a sweet earthy
taste. It yields a cake like crumb and when baked curiously
imparts a grayish color. Generally no more than 15 percent
barley flour is added to a yeast bread and it imparts
a more soft and dense texture. Toasting barley flour prior
to use imparts a rich flavor.
BARLEY MALT SUGAR is a buff colored crystalline powder
made by evaporating the water out of barley malt syrup.
Malt sugar has been primarily used for brewing but it
is increasingly becoming available in stores. Malt sugar
absorbs moisture easily and then becomes rock hard. To
prevent hardening store it in a closed glass jar.
BARLEY MALT SYRUP is sprouted whole barley, roasted and
then extracted to a liquid form - that is if it's
real traditional barley malt syrup. EDEN Barley Malt is
one of the best quality natural sweeteners, and the only
one we know of that is not made with genetically engineered
enzymes or other shortcuts. Barley malt's primary
sugars are maltose and thus its impact upon the blood
sugar is more moderate and 'slow burning' than
refined sugar, maple syrup or honey. Store barley malt
syrup in a glass container in your refrigerator after
Makes about 3-1/2 cups
Barley is a forgiving grain and easy for beginners to
work with, though it may require some experimentation.
If it tastes rubbery it is not cooked, so increase the
cooking time and if necessary the liquid.
- 1 cup barley
- 3 cups water
- 1/8 teaspoon EDEN Sea Salt
Heat a thin saucepan or wok over high heat. When hot add
barley and toast, stirring constantly, for about 3 or
4 minutes or until the grain becomes a shade darker and
many of them have popped. Bring water to a boil in a medium
saucepan over high heat. When boiling stir in toasted
barley. Cover and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 50
minutes for whole barley or 45 minutes for pearl barley
or until grain is tender but still chewy. If liquid remains,
drain well. If liquid has been absorbed before barley
is tender, add water, about a tablespoon at a time. Serve
as a breakfast cereal with honey and milk or as a side
dish seasoned with EDEN Gomasio or other savory topping
or add to soups and stews.
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)
Buckwheat is a hardy rhubarb
relative that thrives in cold weather and can survive
and improve challenged soil. Its seed, a small, three
sided buckwheat groat is the shape and rusty color of
a beechnut and thus its Anglo Saxon name was boek (beech)
weite (wheat). Buckwheat originated in Siberia and Manchuria
and became the beloved Russian dietary staple until displaced
by wheat in the 20th century. Although buckwheat is not
a wheat or a cereal grain, in the kitchen it is treated
Today buckwheat is grown primarily in New York, Pennsylvania,
and across the Canadian frontier. The major uses for buckwheat
crops are as livestock feed or for soil enrichment in
planned crop rotation.
Buckwheat's most outstanding nutritional characteristic
is its high proportion of all eight essential amino acids
and especially lysine that at 6.1 percent is greater than
any of the cereal grains. Additionally, this grain contains
up to 100 percent more calcium than other grains.
Buckwheat is light in texture and quick cooking. It is
also light in flavor unless the groats are pretoasted,
then its flavor is strong and robust. Serve buckwheat
as a hot breakfast cereal or a grain entree, by itself
or cooked with other ingredients as a grain pilaf. The
cooked grain may be shaped into burgers or croquettes
and pan fried, grilled or baked.
BUCKWHEAT or buckwheat groats
are untoasted, a pale greenish white and mildly flavored.
To bring up the flavor and for maximum vitality, buy untoasted
groats and toast them before cooking. Buckwheat stored
in a closed container in a cool, dark cupboard will hold
for one year.
KASHA is buckwheat roasted to a deep reddish brown prior
to packaging. It has an almost scorched flavor. Because
it is pretoasted, kasha becomes stale easily and is best
used within six months. For optimum flavor and energy
eat buckwheat and kasha the day they are cooked. Leftovers
may be refrigerated for up to a week. While cooked buckwheat
or kasha can be frozen, this compromises their texture,
flavor, and energetic properties.
BUCKWHEAT FLOUR is made from unroasted buckwheat groats
rather than from roasted kasha. It is graded light, medium
or dark depending on the amount of black hull the flour
contains. The hull is rich in lysine, an important amino
acid. Buckwheat flour is the primary ingredient in the
most beloved Japanese pasta, soba. Buckwheat flour is
also a favorite addition in crepes, blinis, pancakes and
other quick breads. This flour does not lend itself to
yeast bread. To store, wrap buckwheat flour tightly and
refrigerate for several months or freeze for up to a year.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon EDEN Sesame Oil (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon EDEN Sea Salt
- Freshly milled pepper to taste
Toast the groats in a saucepan or wok over medium high
heat for about 3 to 4 minutes or until their color turns
several shades darker and they emit a deep fragrance.
If you wish stronger flavor yet reduce the heat and continue
to toast for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until they
are deep amber.
Place water, sea salt and (optional) oil in a medium saucepan
over high heat. Bring to a boil. When boiling, slowly
(to prevent the water from splattering out) pour in groats.
Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until
all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Let steam,
covered for 5 to 10 minutes with the lid on. Fluff with
a fork and serve.
For a power nourishing breakfast, substitute EDENSOY for
half or all of the water to your taste. Add honey or barley
malt to taste. To create a more warming dish, sautee the
groats in the oil rather than dry toasting and/or season
with garlic and ginger. Stir 1/4 cup freshly toasted sunflower
seeds or chopped walnuts into the boiling water. For a
crisper texture stir the seeds or nuts into the cooked
buckwheat. Replace water with equal portion vegetable
Corn (Zea mays)
"Joy and beauty, may
the sweet maize accompany you to the ends of the earth"
so chant the Navajo medicine men sprinkling corn flour
to the four sacred directions. This prayer deeply acknowledges
the importance of this indigenous American crop. Corn
was known to and grown by all of the Indian tribes between
the St. Lawrence River and Lake Titicaca. Each tribe had
its own name for it but the name for maize translated
to 'She Who Sustains Us', 'Our Mother',
Corn originated as the wild grass teosinte in 4000 BC
in Mexico. These early corn ears ranged in size from one
half inch to two inches long - about the size of common
cereal grains. Like all other grain, each of the original
corn grains was wrapped in its own husk.
Because corn hybridizes so readily early farmers increased
its size and somehow developed a husk that encloses all
of the grains on an ear. This husk makes hand harvesting
easy and it also prevents the corn from seeding itself.
Therefore unlike any other grain, corn cannot reproduce
itself unless humans remove its husk.
Columbus returned to Spain with seeds of 'Indian
Corn' in 1493. Corn quickly spread around the world,
following the trade routes of the early Portuguese navigators.
Today it remains an important crop not only throughout
the Americas but also in the European Danube basin and
Po valley, and in parts of Africa, China and India.
In the United States we eat only 1 percent of our domestic
corn crop. Livestock feed accounts for about 90 percent
with the remainder helps produce paper, textiles, paints,
explosives and plastics. The United States produces nearly
50 percent of the world's corn, primarily in the
Midwest. There are more maize varieties than any other
crop species with over 10 major racial complexes in the
United States alone.
Commercial corn is one of the ten most common food allergens.
Many people who are allergic to common commercial corn
products find they can eat popcorn and the nutritionally
superior blue corn, masa, or posole. Corn as an ingredient
is found in over 3000 grocery food items in a highly refined
inferior form. Please
reject genetically engineered corn including all refined
corn products and ingredients. GE corn and other crops
are polluting our environment and are untested for long
term human safety.
CORN FLOUR and CORN MEAL are ground dried corn. They may
be ground from whole or degerminated corn. Degerminated
corn has an indefinite shelf life, but it is highly refined,
chemically enriched and has little flavor. Choose products
made from ground whole corn instead. Corn meal is coarser
than flour and is most often used in muffins, corn bread,
or polenta. Favor stoneground corn flour for its superior
flavor and baking properties. Because whole corn has a
high oil content, ground corn meal and flour quickly become
rancid. To avoid rancidity purchase them frequently in
small quantities and refrigerate in a tightly covered
FRESH CORN can be eaten on the cob or the kernels may
be removed from the cob, either when raw or cooked, and
used as is or in a variety of dishes. It is best eaten
freshly picked during the 'corn months' of July
DRIED SWEET CORN (also known as chicos and shaker dried
corn) is dehydrated kernels of sweet or green corn. Drying
intensifies the sweetness and gives the rehydrated kernels
a deep, caramel taste. Traditionally the corn is dried
on racks in the sun or on top of wood stoves in the north
or in large adobe ovens of the pueblo peoples in the southwest.
When the dried kernels are rehydrated in water or broth
they release an earthy sweet burst of flavor and have
a chewy, filling texture. They are used in an authentic
succotash, stews, soups, pilafs and as the balance combined
HOMINY (also known as posole) is parched, dried corn kernels
which traditionally were steeped in a bath of slaked lime
or some other form of lye to loosen the hull and germ
and to partially cook the kernels. Hominy is now boiled
in a solution of water and sodium hydroxide to achieve
the same result. The hulls and germ are then washed from
the plumped kernels. This wet hominy may be canned, ground
into fresh masa or dried for later reconstitution. Whole,
hominy is used in soup, stew or as a side dish.
MASA is dough ground from hominy. Although the Spanish
"masa" literally means dough, it is dough made
from corn hominy that is implied when applied to Mexican,
southwestern, or Native American cooking. Freshly ground
masa usually comes in two grades, fine (or masa para tortillas)
and coarse, (or masa para tamales). It is this dough that
is used to make tortillas, tamales, enchiladas and other
standard corn dough recipes. Masa harina is simply hominy
that has been dried and then ground to a mealy flour.
GRITS result from the largest grinding of hominy. They
can be yellow, white, or blue, and are either fine, medium
or coarse in texture. Grits are available in regular,
quick and instant cooking varieties. Coarse stone ground
grits are the most flavorful. Grits are used as a part
of a breakfast meal, as a porridge, with a variety of
seasonings as a main course, or in casseroles.
POLENTA is corn meal ground from dried orange dent corn,
a variety that is very high in beta carotene. Fine ground
polenta is used in baked goods. Coarse is used for the
traditional corn meal mush of Italy.
POSOLE is the Mexican word for hominy. It is also the
main ingredient of a traditional New Mexican stew called
by the same name. Posole is available frozen or dried
and in both forms requires additional cooking.
HUITLACOCHE is a somewhat scarce delicacy. It is a mushroom
like black fungus found during the rainy season on a few
corn ears in a few parts of Mexico.
CORN OIL is extracted from the corn germ which is a by-product
of commercial corn products. Most corn oil is highly refined
and should be avoided.
CORN STARCH is highly refined starch which is used as
a thickening agent in sauces and soups. It has twice the
thickening power of flour, however as a refined product
it always contains GEOs and should be avoided.
CORN SYRUP is a highly refined commercial glucose made
from chemically purified cornstarch. It is a refined sugar
that very probably contains GEOs and should be avoided.
Job's Tears - Hato Mugi (Coix lacryma-jobi)
This heirloom grain has been
highly valued in Africa and Asia for centuries.
A Western use of Job's tears is as a bead that's
strung for rosaries or jewelry. Its black impervious hull
makes it a sturdy bead. Throughout the world, this tall
grass has several names that include the word for tears
because of its teardrop shape (Latin lacryma).
The Biblical name Job was apparently added because Job
had a lot to cry about.
Once hulled, Job's tears looks like a giant, pearl
gray barley. Although mugi in its Japanese name suggests
it is a barley, Job's tears is not a variety of barley.
Job's tears is one of the few non hybridized grains
available today. It has excellent nutritional composition,
high in carbohydrates, potassium, protein and fiber and
low in fat. A commercial domestic crop of Job's tears
has not yet been developed and as a whole grain it has
limited availability in the U.S.
Throughout Asia, Job's tears are used in soups and
as a grain entree. The flour is used in beverages
and as a baking ingredient.
To prepare Job's tears always pick through the grains
to remove any that are tan as they will shed a bitter
taste on the whole pot. High quality organic Job's
tears available at natural food and some specialty markets
will rarely contain tan grains. With a taste similar to
kasha, Job's tears are particularly appealing combined
with other grains or used in salads, soups and stews to
add texture and nutrition.
Try Job's tears in place of rice with Asian stir
fried vegetables or in place of barley in soups, salads
and stuffing. Soak Job's tears prior to use. They
require longer cooking than barley and are less sticky
than either rice or barley. Combine with rice or another
grain or add to long cooking soups.
Basic Job's Tears
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 cup Job's tears
- 2 cups water (plus more for rinsing)
- 1/2 teaspoon EDEN Sea Salt
Wash and drain Job's tears well. Place in a thin
saucepan or wok over high heat. Toast, stirring constantly,
for about 5 minutes or until grains are very dry and aromatic
and begin to make crackling noises. Bring water and sea
salt to a boil over high heat. When boiling, carefully
add toasted Job's tears, watching that the water
does not sputter up. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and
simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat and let rest, covered,
for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Kamut (Triticum polonicum)
Kamut is a large golden durum wheat relative with a rich
delicious flavor. Due to several curious twists of fate,
this ancient wheat was saved while thousands of irreplaceable
wheat varieties were lost in the 1940s. Six thousand years
ago kamut was an important grain in the Nile region. For
three millennia it thrived until the conquering Greeks
displaced it with their favorite wheat, a red durum. However
in some isolated fields, generations of farmers so valued
kamut's unique flavor that they continued to grow
Thirty six kernels of this giant wheat were given to a
Montana airman stationed in Portugal in 1949. He was told
they had been "... gathered from a stone box in an
excavated tomb near Dahshur, Egypt." The airman mailed
the seed to his wheat farming father, who grew them out
and showed them off at the county fair as 'King Tut's
wheat'. The story of these grains being preserved
since the time of the pyramids makes a good story, but
story it is. All seeds have a limited life span due to
their fragile fatty acids.
The grain was not as high a producer as modern hybrid
wheat and so soon it went to cattle feed and was forgotten
until 1977 when organic farmer Bob Quinn remembered seeing
King Tut's wheat at the fair in his youth. Mr. Quinn
ferreted out a single pint of the giant wheat, named the
grain kamut, which means wheat in Egyptian, and it is
available today as a whole grain flour and in products
such as EDEN Pasta. Not known or grown in Egypt today,
this priceless artifact survives in Montana fields unscathed
by contemporary breeding techniques.
Kamut is delicious cooked whole. When ground it makes
rich flavored bread, pasta, and baked goods. Of the varieties
of whole grain wheat, kamut is unique in that it is less
chewy so it may be substituted for softer grains like
brown rice in salads, pilafs and stuffing. Kamut is richer
tasting than most grain. Because it is an heirloom food,
many people with wheat sensitivity can enjoy it in good
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 cup kamut
- 1 3/4 cups water or unsalted stock
Wash kamut and drain well. Heat a thin saucepan or wok
over high heat. Add the kamut and after the first grain
pops, stir constantly for 3 minutes or until it turns
a darker shade. Set aside. Place water or stock in a medium
saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. When boiling,
add kamut. If the kamut is still hot, add slowly to prevent
sputtering. Return to the boil. Cover and reduce heat
to a simmer. Simmer for 50 to 60 minutes or until the
liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender but still
a bit chewy. Remove from heat and allow to steam, covered,
for 10 minutes. Serve hot as a cereal or side dish or
use in soup, stew, pilaf or salad.
Millet (Paniccum miliaceum)
If you've ever examined bird feed, millet is the
round yellow tan seed that's a little smaller than
a peppercorn. Removing millet's outer hull reveals
a golden nubbin of grain that can enhance any meal with
its mildly sweet flavor reminiscent of corn and almonds.
Millet may be soft like a polenta or light like a pilaf.
It is a most adaptable cereal grain and one that's
especially valued by people who are allergic to common
Our table millet refers to a variety named proso that
originated in northern China over 5000 years ago. Elsewhere
millet is a generic term for at least five different small
and unrelated cereal grains. Millet was introduced by
the Mongols into the Mediterranean and is frequently referred
to in the New Testament. Into the Middle Ages millet was
a dominant crop because it was easier to grow than wheat.
Reliance upon millet lessened as higher volume wheat varieties
appeared in the west and as higher volume rice varieties
appeared in Asia. In impoverished areas of Africa, Asia,
and India millet is still relied upon.
Millet is high in protein and has significantly more iron
and silicon than other cereal grains. It is gluten free
and very rich in amino acids, phosphorous and B vitamins.
Due to its high alkaline ash content, millet is the easiest
grain to digest. This unusual makeup allows millet to
be cooked without salt and yet be alkaline rather than
Millet flour is a starchy flour that is similar in texture
to rice flour. It yields a dry, delicate crumb with a
pale yellow color. Fresh millet flour has a distinctive
sweet flavor. When old it is bitter and should be discarded.
Millet flour is sold in health food stores, but since
it turns rancid and bitter quite rapidly it is best to
grind it as needed in a spice grinder or grain mill. Because
millet has no gluten, its flour is best used in small
amounts with wheat or barley flour for cookies and cakes.
For sauces and some cookies and flat breads, it may be
Whole cooked millet is a light fluffy pilaf with a mild
nutty flavor. Increase the liquid to 3 cups for a smooth,
mashed potato like texture. Millet can be eaten alone
as a cereal or side dish or cooked in combination with
other grains in bread, soup, and even in desserts. It
is a superior grain for stuffing vegetables or poultry.
Whole soaked millet adds delicious crunch when added to
As millet has a more fragile shelf life than the other
grains, purchase it in small quantities preferably from
a natural food store. Store millet in a cool pantry if
you live in a dry cool climate or refrigerate if you live
in a warm damp environment. Millet with an acrid harsh
aftertaste is rancid and should be discarded.
Makes about 4 cups
- 1 cup millet
- 2 1/4 cups boiling water or stock
- 1/4 teaspoon EDEN Sea Salt
Place millet in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Toast,
stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until millet
it is lightly aromatic and begins to pop. Reduce heat
if necessary to prevent scorching. When millet is toasted
remove from heat. Pour into a strainer and rinse under
running water for 15 seconds or until the water runs clear.
Shake out excess water and add millet to boiling, seasoned
water. Return to the boil, cover, and simmer for about
20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Turn off heat
and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff millet with
a fork and serve immediately with any gravy, sauce, topping,
or condiment. With moistened hands, form leftover millet
into small cakes, season and pan fry.
Oats (Avena sativa)
How your oats turn out depends upon what kind you use
and how you prepare them. The important thing is to start
with quality oats, cook them to your taste, and then enjoy
frequently. Fresh oats have a sweet pecan like flavor
and are deeply nourishing.
Cultivated oats are native to northern central Asia but
found a permanent home in the British Isles and other
cold damp climates. That oats were the Celt's staple
grain is reflected by the number of their oat dishes including
aran isenach, bannock, broonie, atholl brose, farl, skirilie,
sowans, haver, struan micheil, hodgils
In the U.S. oats are grown primarily in the Midwest.
Oats were the first food permitted by the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration to be labeled as a benefit in helping
to prevent heart disease by reducing cholesterol. In traditional
medicine oats support the entire system to move from imbalance
to a state of healthy balance.
Oats contain the highest percentage of sodium and fat
(unsaturated) of any grain, and also an antioxidant which
delays rancidity. They are high in protein with an amino
acid content similar to wheat. They also contain B vitamins,
calcium and fiber. Only the outer husk is removed during
milling, so oat products retain more of their original
nutrients than do refined wheat products.
Because of their antioxidant properties, oats have long
been used to extend the shelf life of baked goods and
to provide a delicate sweet flavor. Whole or steel cut
oats are tasty in pilafs, stuffing, casseroles, and porridge.
Steel cut oats are a flavorful substitute for bulgur,
rice, couscous or pasta in a grain salad. Besides the
obvious hot cereal dish, rolled oats thicken soups and
add excellent texture to breads, cookies, muffins, pancakes
and waffles. They are also the primary ingredient in muesli
and granola. Unlike other grains, oats must be steamed
before their two inedible outer hulls can be removed.
As with other grains the more processed an oat is, the
more its flavor and nutrients are compromised.
WHOLE OATS are similar to long-grain brown rice in color
and shape; and they take as long to cook as does brown
rice. Oat groats are rarely cooked whole.
STEEL CUT OATS are oat groats cut into two or three pieces.
Steel cut oats cook in less time than whole oats, and
have a more pleasing texture. Also called Scottish or
ROLLED OATS are made by flattening whole oats between
two rollers. Less pressure is used for thick (old fashioned)
flakes than quick cooking rolled oats and because less
surface is exposed to air, the thicker oats retain more
flavor and freshness.
INSTANT OATS are best left on the shelf. They are processed
into tiny particles and have added sugar, salt and flavorings.
OAT BRAN is composed of the fibrous outer layers of whole
oats. It is buff colored and a rich source of water soluble
fiber. In the 1980s two reputable university studies showed
the efficacy of oat bran to reduce serum cholesterol levels
and reduce the risk of heart disease in humans.
OAT FLOUR is buff colored with a light fine texture and
is good to combine with other flours like wheat, barley,
millet or rice. Oats have a natural antioxidant that helps
keep baked food fresh. To make your own oat flour, whir
rolled oats in a blender until they are pulverized to
the desired consistency. For fresher flour grind whole
oat groats using a flour mill, coffee grinder or spice
mill. For 1 cup oat flour use 2/3 cup oat groats or 1
1/2 cups oatmeal. Oats contain very little gluten, thus
oat flour when not combined with wheat is best in unleavened
flat breads or waffles.
Makes about 4 cups
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 cups water
- Pinch of salt
Place oats in a saucepan and dry roast over low heat,
stirring slowly, until they release a nutty aroma, about
5 minutes. Add water and salt, stir and bring to boil,
reduce heat to lowest setting and cover. Cook for 30 minutes,
stir and serve.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa)
Native to the high altitude valleys of the Andes is the
tasty and versatile grain quinoa (keen' wa). Quinoa
was so revered by the Incas as their mother grain that
the conquering Spanish denigrated it and forced the people
to grow barley for Spanish style beer. In time quinoa
became associated with impoverishment. Until very recently
the Aymara and Quechua peoples of the altiplano believed
that if they fed quinoa to their children it would make
them stupid. As these indigenous peoples could afford
it, they favored the upper and middle class foods, pasta
and white bread, over what they once esteemed as their
Fortunately North American interest in quinoa is helping
reinstate the status of the mother grain in its homeland.
Imported quinoa was first marketed in the United States
in 1984. Today quinoa is available in restaurants and
stores throughout the Americas.
A member of the goosefoot family and relative of spinach,
quinoa is a stately and colorful plant. The plant flourishes
under extreme ecological conditions including high altitude,
thin cold air, hot sun, radiation, drought, frost and
poor soil. Although most quinoa varieties grow best at
10,000 feet and above, some varieties grow as low as sea
Quinoa is not a true cereal grain but is used as one.
About the size of millet, the periphery of each disk shaped
grain is bound with a narrow germ or embryo. When cooked,
the wispy germ separates from the seed and its delicate,
almost crunchy curlicue makes a great contrast to the
Quinoa is a high energy grain and is easy to digest, making
it an ideal endurance and fitness food. Because quinoa is
a non cereal grain, it is favored by people with food
sensitivities and allergies to the common grains.
The United Nations World Health Organization observes
that quinoa is at least equal to milk in protein quality.
Quinoa has the highest protein of any grain (around 16
percent) and unlike other grains, is a complete protein
with an essential amino acid profile similar to milk.
Quinoa contains more calcium than milk and is high in
lysine, an amino acid that is scarce in the vegetable
kingdom. It is also high in methionine and cystine, making
it complementary to beans which lack in these amino acids.
Quinoa is a rich and balanced source of many other vital
nutrients, including iron, phosphorous, B vitamins, and
Quinoa flour is an excellent gluten free wheat flour alternative.
It has a rather strong flavor and so is best used in combination
with other flours or in strongly flavored baked goods
or quick breads. Whole quinoa is so easy and quick to
cook that it becomes a favorite staple of everyone once
tried. Substitute quinoa freely for rice, millet or couscous
in any recipe. It is delicious alone or as an ingredient
in soup, pilafs and casseroles. For an upscale 'rice'
pudding substitute quinoa for the rice.
Makes about 4 cups
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water (plus more to wash)
Wash quinoa well before cooking to remove the bitter saponin
that coats it. Place 1 cup of quinoa in a bowl, add water
to cover and using the palms of your hands, lightly scrub
for about 10 seconds. Strain out the washing water and
repeat this process. Pour all of the quinoa into the strainer
and run fresh water over for 5 to 10 seconds, or until
the water runs clear. Place washed quinoa in 2 cups of
boiling water, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about
12 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Allow to steam,
covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Rice (Oryza sativa)
Rice is the staple for six out of every ten people in
the world. Although wheat is a close second, rice has
an advantage for third world peoples. It can go straight
from the field into the pot and is primarily eaten intact
while wheat is first ground in tiny particles.
Macrobiotic teacher Michio Kushi observes that eating
a whole rather than fragmented grain supports a holistic
life view. In the west our staple, wheat, is usually fragmented
and similarly our philosophical and scientific outlook
is also usually specialized rather than holistic, tending
to dissect rather than observe. Along these lines, it
is notable that in the U.S. the alternative medicine movement
sprang from the natural foods movement, which celebrates
brown rice as an important staple.
Rice has been cultivated in Asia since 7500 BC. There
are countless rice varieties. Most are buff colored when
whole and unrefined, and some are red, brown, amber or
black. When the colored and tough bran layer is removed,
the result is white rice which requires less cooking time.
Some of the darker colored specialty rice varieties are
partially refined (scarified) which leaves some of their
bright color and reduces cooking time.
The four main rice varieties, which may be any color,
are determined by the proportion of their starches amylase
and amylopectin. Long grain rice has kernels that are
up to five times longer than they are wide. It cooks up
dry and fluffy because it contains the least amylopectin.
Medium grain is up to three times longer than it is wide,
and is a bit stickier than long grain. Short grain is
fat, almost round, and more sticky. But the stickiest,
and the one with the most amylopectin, is the opaque glutinous
or sweet rice that cooks into a dense sticky mass.
Rice may be precooked and sold as parboiled (converted)
or instant rice as a convenience food. Each is nutritionally
inferior to cooking it yourself from the whole grain.
Sweet or glutinous rice
is more warming than regular rice and is believed to strengthen
the kidneys, spleen, and stomach. Though it is called
glutinous rice, people with gluten sensitivities can enjoy
sweet rice. Glutinous rice does not contain the peptide
gluten found in wheat and some other grains.
Rice is high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and low in
sodium. Brown rice is highest of all grains in B vitamins.
It contains iron, vitamin E, amino acids, fiber, and linoleic
acid. Short grain brown rice contains less protein but
more minerals, and is heartier and more strengthening
than long grain. By law white rice is artificially enriched
with iron, thiamin and niacin.
You can enjoy rice every day and never get bored. The
more it's chewed, the more delicious it becomes.
Most other grains are processed into less energizing flours
or flakes. Rice goes with any meal or dish, from soup
to comforting desserts like rice pudding. Worldwide, rice
is featured with beans for satisfying and wholesome protein
Short grain rice holds moisture better than does long
grain and so yields a stickier, more substantial dish
that historically is preferred in colder regions. Light
and fluffy long grain is preferred in warmer climates.
Brown rice requires longer cooking, more chewing, and
yields a more filling dish than does white rice. Sweet
rice is used to make the traditional Japanese dishes amasake
and mochi. In Thailand and some regions of China, a black
variety of sticky rice is popular.
In arid and temperate regions whole grain brown rice stores
for a year or more in a cool dark place. Store it in a
covered container or tightly wrapped. If you live in a
hot and humid climate you may prefer to store rice in
the refrigerator or freezer to prevent infestation. Because
the germ of white rice is removed it may be stored indefinitely.
Cover tightly and store in a cool dark place.
Rice flour has a light nutty flavor and adds crispness
to breading, coatings, cookies and crackers. Brown rice
flour delivers whole grain flavor and nutrition but with
a light color. Rice flour is gluten free and so is a popular
alternative for people who have gluten sensitivities.
Due to its gluten free property however, rice flour cannot
be used alone for bread or leavened products.
Basic Brown Rice
Makes about 4 cups
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups water (plus more for rinsing)
- 1 teaspoon Eden Sea Salt (optional)
Rinse rice well and place in a saucepan with water, salt,
and oil (optional). Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer
on low heat until the rice is tender, about 1 hour. While
some recommend a shorter cooking time, a full hour yields
a superior texture and flavor. Allow to steam with the
lid on for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff and serve.
Rye (Secale cereale)
Rye is a close relative to wheat but with darker and more
slender kernels and a rich robust flavor. Consider which
ethnic groups brought their beloved rye breads to the
United States; Germans, Scandinavians, Russians and Poles,
and it is apparent that this grain survives frigid temperatures.
While the origin of other grains can be traced to ancestral
wild grasses, rye abruptly appeared at a much later date
as a grain field weed in Asia Minor. It became a European
staple throughout the Middle Ages. However wheat displaced
rye in warmer climates as higher volume wheat varieties
developed, and because it is easier to make bread from
wheat than from rye. Rye remained the favorite in frigid
northern soils and in depleted soils.
Rye's strong flavor matches its strong weed like
hardiness and its ability to strengthen muscles, promote
energy and endurance.
Nutritionally rye is similar to wheat but it contains
less gluten. Of the common grains, rye has the highest
percentage of the amino acid lysine. It contains eleven
B vitamins, vitamin E, protein, iron, plus various minerals
and trace elements.
Whole grain rye flour is a shade darker than whole wheat
flour and is available primarily in natural food stores.
Dark colored pumpernickel flour is rye plus an added coloring
such as caramel. The rye flour from supermarkets is degermed
with the dark flour containing more bran. Rye flour is
mildly sweet and may be combined with another flour to
make quick breads, corn bread, muffins, and waffles. Sour
dough rye bread gains its characteristic sour flavor from
the starter, not the rye. Bread containing rye stays moist
longer than an all wheat loaf and slices thinner. Traditional
gingerbread desserts were made of rye flour. You'll
also find rye in Swedish hardtack crackers.
Cracked rye is a good breakfast dish. Flaked rye is used
like rolled oats for a breakfast cereal and in granola.
Rye berries are rarely cooked whole though they are good
this way. A few cooked into a pot of rice adds nice flavor.
Rye berries will store for a year or more when tightly
wrapped or in a glass storage container, in a cool, dark,
dry environment. If you live in a humid and hot area,
to prevent infestation purchase small quantities of rye
and use within a few months or else refrigerate or freeze
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 cup rye berries, rinsed
- 2 cups water (plus more for draining)
- 1/2 teaspoon EDEN Sea Salt
Rinse rye well and place it in a saucepan with water,
salt, and oil (optional). Cover, bring to a boil, then
simmer on low heat until the rye is tender about 1 hour
and 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove
from heat and allow to steam for 5 to 10 minutes, covered.
Fluff with a fork and serve.
Wheat (Triticum aestivum)
The common ancestor of all wheat is called einkorn, first
cultivated 8700 years ago in present day Iraq. Because
wheat is the world's most important carbohydrate
crop and the most widely distributed cereal grain, it
is grown in nearly every country and in each of the United
States. In many cultures wheat is now the staple grain,
having replaced amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet,
oats, quinoa, rye, and wild rice.
Whole wheat nurtures the heart. It is believed to calm
and focus the mind, relieve stress and mental health symptoms.
In traditional medicine wheat supports the spleen, liver,
and kidney meridians. Like rye, wheat is good for the
Since 1926 wheat has been hybridized and otherwise tampered
with and highly refined. According to food expert Paul
Pitchford, author of Healing With Whole Foods,
this may explain the many common allergies to wheat. Whole
wheat contains thirteen B vitamins, vitamin E, protein,
essential fatty acids and important trace minerals such
as zinc, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
Wheat berry is the term applied to whole wheat with just
the outer hull removed. Because they're so chewy,
whole cooked wheat berries are rarely eaten alone, but
a tablespoon or so adds great texture to a pot of brown
rice or other whole grain.
Thousands of wheat varieties exist but three types are
commonly used for human consumption: hard, soft and durum.
Additionally wheat is defined by the season it is sown
in. Care in handling and milling determines quality, so
please choose wisely.
EDEN PASTAS are made from organic heirloom quality grain
such as Golden Amber Durum Wheat. Always favor organic
heirloom wheat varieties like EDEN wheat berries and flour
available in bulk in natural food stores (please ask for
it by name).SPRING WHEAT is a fast-growing crop grown
where winters are severe. It's sown in the spring
and harvested in the fall. Spring wheat is the grain of
choice for bread making, as it generally has the highest
WINTER WHEAT is sown in the fall where winters are mild;
it germinates; then lies dormant through the winter, and
starts growing again in the spring and is ready for harvest
in June. Because it has a longer growing season it establishes
a more extensive root system and is therefore higher in
HARD WHEAT has a higher protein (gluten) content and is
used for bread. It is typically rust colored and the kernels
are plump; however there are some white (actually buff
SOFT WHEAT contains more carbohydrate and less gluten
than hard wheat, so it is not suited to bread making,
but it's the wheat for making pie crusts. Soft wheat
come in two varieties, red and white, and is primarily
used for crackers and pastries.
DURUM WHEAT is used primarily for pasta because its hard
starch granules hold together even in boiling water. Semolina
is refined, or white durum flour. Most pasta and couscous
are made from semolina. Superior whole grain durum products
such as EDEN Organic Pastas are rare.
BULGUR has remained a favored staple in the eastern Mediterranean
region where wheat originated. Bulgur is chewy and has
a friendly familiar flavor reminiscent of whole wheat
toast. Bulgur was traditionally made by boiling whole
wheat berries in huge outdoor cauldrons, sun drying, and
cracking into a fine, medium or coarse grade. The finer
the grade, the less cooking is required. Dark bulgur is
made from hard red wheat. White bulgur is made from soft
white wheat and has a more delicate flavor. The product
called cracked wheat is sometimes mistaken for bulgur
but is not a bulgur substitute. Bulgur is easier to digest
than whole wheat and well conveys wheat's energetic
properties. Unlike whole wheat, the fatty acids have been
exposed to oxygen and light and so are denatured. Purchase
bulgur that smells fresh and nutty. Purchase a three month
supply at a time. Store airtight in the refrigerator or
WHEAT BRAN: Six fibrous protective layers of the wheat
berry are resistant to digestion and thus are an effective
bowel regulator because they add bulk and fiber to the
diet. A more sensible choice is to eat the whole grain.
Bran accounts for 15 percent of the wheat kernel. In addition
to its indigestible cellulose, it is also a rich reserve
of nutrients. In a wheat berry, the bran contains 86 percent
of the niacin, 73 percent of the pyridoxine, and 50 percent
of the pantothenic acid, 42 percent of the riboflavin,
33 percent of the thiamin and 19 percent of the protein.
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR when ground from the hard whole wheat
berry contains all of the 40 plus nutrients of the wheat
and has a rich full taste. However once milled, the fatty
acids in the wheat germ start to oxidize and may become
rancid. Buy whole wheat flour in small quantities and
keep it in a tightly closed container in a cool dark pantry
or in the refrigerator.
WHOLE WHEAT PASTRY FLOUR is made from whole soft wheat
berries and is preferred for delicate baked goods. Because
it is low in gluten, it is unsuitable for bread. This
flour requires the same care as whole wheat flour.
BLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR is made of refined hard and
soft wheat and processed with up to 30 chemicals. By law,
all refined flour must be 'enriched' with four
synthetic nutrients. Self-rising all-purpose flour also
contains leavening and salt.
BOLTED WHEAT FLOUR is made with a technique developed
by the Romans. Ground flour is sifted through a bolt of
coarsely woven cloth to remove hulls and a large portion
of the bran and germ. Bolted flour retains 20 percent
of its bran and all of the germ. It has limited availability
BREAD FLOUR is high gluten blend of refined 98 percent
hard wheat flour which contains malted barley to improve
the yeast activity. It may or may not contain potassium
bromate to increase the gluten's elasticity.
DURUM FLOUR is made of 100 percent durum wheat and is
used primarily for whole wheat pasta.
CAKE FLOUR is a fine textured soft wheat flour that is
low in gluten. Self rising cake flour contains 1 1/2 teaspoons
baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of flour.
GLUTEN FLOUR is high protein hard wheat flour with a reduced
starch content and a gluten content of at least 55 percent.
Bakers often add a small percentage of gluten flour to
bread to yield a lighter loaf.
SEMOLINA is ground from refined durum wheat and is used
primarily for pasta.
UNBLEACHED ALL PURPOSE FLOUR is a nutritionally sterile
food made from wheat refined of its bran and germ and
therefore it cannot become rancid. By law it must be chemically
enriched but it is a less processed food than bleached