Friday, February 27, 2009

One Grain at a Time

The second most produced food in the world, corn being the first and rice a close third. Wheat is a healthy grain for those who can tolerate it. Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) afflicts as many as 1 percent of the population, not to mention the growing number of wheat allergies. Know your body, get tested if there is a question and find alternatives if there is a problem.

Durum wheat is golden in color and it very hard, too hard for home mills to grind. It is used in making pasta and can be purchased as "semolina flour."

Hard red wheat (pictured, bottom) is an acidic grain, it is darker with a tint of red. This variety has been around for a long, long time and has been refined to make the common white flour, which is the whole grain stripped of it's bran and germ, leaving the light, full of gluten endosperm that produces the fluffy, risen breads that are so prevalent in our supermarkets and bakeries. Hard red wheat is also processed as bulgar which is steamed, cracked and dried for more flavor and short cooking time. As a whole grain flour, it produces heavy, dense and robustly nutty flavored breads.

Hard white wheat (pictured, right) is a newer hybrid that is alkaline, lighter in color and produces risen breads with a lighter texture. This wheat is whole grain with nearly identical nutrition to it's red cousin.

Soft white wheat (pictured, top) is also known as pastry wheat or when ground, sold under the label of "whole wheat pastry flour." This wheat is lacking the gluten for holding a rise in good yeasated breads, but works great in pastry recipes and still very nutritious.

Less than 11 cents per serving at under $1.00 per lb.
1 lb = 2.2 cups dry = 4.5 cups cooked = 3 cups flour

To Cook:
1 cup grain to 3 cups water.
Simmer 45 minutes or Pressure 15 minutes on high, natural release,
Strain and rinse.

To Store:
-Whole - indefinitely in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.
For long term storage freeze for 48 hours before storing.
-Bulgur/cracked- 6 months in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.
-Flour - up to 2 weeks in an air tight container,
Or freeze up to 1 year.
-Cooked - refrigerate for up to 10 days,
Or freeze up to 6 months

To Use:
-Cooked berries can be used by adding to soups and salads.
-Cracked berries can be cooked for a breakfast cereal.
-Soft white wheat flour may be used in place of white flour for any non yeasted recipe.
Examples: Pancakes, waffles, sweet breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, crackers, crepes, tortillas, pasta, pie crusts and other pastries.
-Hard white and hard red wheat flours can be used for yeasted breads.
-Whole Berries can be sprouted.

Nutritional Value per 100 grams (3.5 oz.)
carbohydrates 68 grams
dietary fiber12.2 grams
fat1.9 grams
protein 15.4 grams
iron 3.6 mg 20%
Thiamin 0.3 mg
Niacin 4.0 mg
Magnesium 100 mg
Manganese 3.0 mg
Phosphorus 212 mg
Selenium 49 mcg


  1. Can I just tell you again how awesome your blog is? I love having all these nutrition facts for the various grains!

  2. I would love to see a weekly menu for your family! I love your blog and I have such a hard time menu planning!

  3. I have a very loose menu schedule. I brainstorm prior to grocery shopping the things I would like to make in the next few days this is based on what I crave and what needs to be used up in the fridge. I make a list of the items in need. At the store I shop what looks good and is a good price... zuchinni not on my list? I'll find a way to use it. Or the peppers are way expensive, I'll use a can of green chilis instead. Or the cucumbers are looking terrible so I'll have to wait until next week and try again for that salad.

    Always make sure you have a couple of easy meals in mind for when it is getting late and you need something fast. Also, when you know ahead of time what you are going to make you can start preparing here and there when you have a pocket of time, this makes it all come together a lot quicker at the end of the day.

    For another idea, Shari blogged about how she plans her menu:

  4. Can you tell me the diff between hard red spring and winter? Now that I am getting more into sprouting and doing things at home I am buying in bulk and need help with what to buy! Thanks!

  5. I haven't used hard red for a while, but from what I remember it has a stronger taste and heavier texture than the white. However, I did get a bag recently because I hear it is great with sourdough. Most of the time I sprout spelt.


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