selecting, storing, washing, soaking, and cooking whole grains
organic is always best! be sure to select grains that look and smell fresh, and that are as local as possible... buying in bulk saves disposable plastic bags, as most organic grains will come in large recycled paper bags that can be reused for any number of useful purposes, or recycled at the end of their life... many stores offer discounts of up to 20% for buying in bulk as well... the basic amounts are 25 and 50 pound bags, so if bulk is too much for you, find a few friends or family members to share it with... store your grains in a cool, dry, dark place - in sealable glass jars or earthenware crocks, or if you need to store it for longer periods you can also put the grains in freezer bags or containers and keep them in the freezer... temperature and time are important factors - depending on how fast you consume your whole grains, storing some grains in the fridge or freezer in the summer months keeps it fresher, but in cooler weather refrigeration isn't really necessary... pure sea salt is a major component to cooking most grains, as is pure water... soaking most grains overnight makes them easier to digest and requires a bit less time and energy for cooking... since stove tops, pots, and pressure cookers vary, it may take a few trys to find a happy medium that produces what you like best, so experiment and stick with it! properly cooked whole grains, mixed with a protein of some kind and an array of veggies is a perfect combination for good health
pressure cooked short or long grain brown rice and wild rice
brown rice is best when it is soaked overnight and pressure cooked - the flavor, texture, and nutritional content is exquisite... if you don't have a pressure cooker, boiling will work fine, but will never achieve the same finished product (most people who don't like brown rice as much as white rice have probably only tried boiled brown rice)... this recipe makes enough rice for a few days or a big meal - brown rice is great leftover, as you can have it for breakfast (rice and raisins or rice rolls), lunch, dinner, or desert the next day, using any number of great recipes
wash and rinse rice well by placing the rice in a large bowl or pot, filling it half way with water, and gently swishing the rice around with your hand to remove any debris... drain into a strainer if possible, then repeat the wash and rinse another 2 times (or more if needed)... place the rice in a bowl with about an inch of water above the surface - add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, swish it around and let sit overnight... soaking isn't mandatory, but does make the grain more digestible and gives the rice a much more light and delicate feel and flavor! strain well, then place the rice in a pot and add the water and sea salt... swish it around gently with your hand, and make sure the rice is evenly distributed... cover the pot with its lid and turn heat to high* in order to bring it to pressure... just as it comes up to pressure, turn heat to low (if using a flame for cooking, place a flame deflector on the grate, and the pot on the deflector, to keep it the rice from burning)... you should have a nice even, low pressure going for 40 minutes (if you have soaked your rice overnight, do 30-35 minutes)... when done, remove pot from heat, and let the pressure come down slowly, by itself - this ensures the best flavor and even texture, as the steam hydrates any slightly toasted rice that might be on the bottom... when pressure is completely down, remove the lid and gently stir the rice with a wood or bamboo rice paddle, or a spoon to mix the top and bottom rice together evenly... enjoy!!
* fire / a gas stove is preferable to an electric stove in all cases, but if you have an electric stove, pressure cooking is the best way to retain nutrients
boiled brown rice
to boil rice, use the same rinse and drain procedure above, and adjust the amount of rice and water to fit whatever pot size you are using - for boiling it is generally 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice, plus 1/4 tsp. sea salt... after rinsing/draining, return rice to the pot and add the water and salt - again making sure the rice is even...bring it to a full boil, then cover and reduce heat to low... cook for 40 minutes, remove from heat, and let it settle for another 10 minutes or so with the lid still on
** adding a small amount of pearled barley to brown rice is a delicious alternative that adds a unique flavor and texture - when cooking 1 cup of rice, add 1/4 cup of barley with another 1/2 cup of water to the mix and cook as usual
pressure cooked or boiled barley
wash barley well and soak in a bowl overnight (or soak in the early morning, for cooking in the evening) - be sure the water is about and inch above the surface of a grain, as it will absorb a lot... the next day rinse the barley and let drain - add to a pressure cooker with a grain to water ratio of 1 to 3 (1 cup of grain to 3 cups of water) and a 1/2 tsp. sea salt... bring up to pressure on high or medium heat, then turn heat to low and let cook for 20 minutes... if you did not soak your grain beforehand, cook for 40 to 45 minutes... sometimes we also like to cook the barley with a small piece of kombu seaweed, for a bit of extra flavor and nutrition...
to cook barley without a pressure cooker, soak overnight, then add to a pot with a grain/water ratio of 1 to 3 and a bit of sea salt, as above, bring to a boil, uncovered, then turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes... if you do not soak your grain first it may take up to 1 and 1/2 hours to cook!
boiled white rice (basmati, jasmine, etc.)
wash rice well - the ratio for white rice is 1 to 1 1/2 (for example - 1 cup of rice needs 1 1/2 cups of water)... add 1/8 tsp. sea salt & bring to a boil... turn heat to low, cover pot, and let simmer for 20 minutes... remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before removing the lid, stir with a rice paddle to blend above/below rice energies
** adding a small amount of millet to white rice is a delicious alternative, adding a unique flavor and texture - when cooking 1 cup of rice, add 1/4 cup of millet and 3/4 cup of water to the mix and cook as usual
wash millet and drain well - the ratio for millet is 1 to 3 (for example - 1/2 cup of millet needs 1 1/2 cups of water) for a wetter grain, and 1 to 2 for a drier grain - depending on personal preference and recipe needs... add 1/8 tsp. sea salt & bring water to a boil... add millet, stir, bring to a boil again, then turn heat to low - cover pot, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes... remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before removing the lid, stir with a rice paddle to blend above/below energies
** to get a nice nutty flavor, toast the millet - place a large / heavy pan or pot (we use our larger cast iron skillet) on high heat, and after draining add the millet to the pan - stir constantly with rice paddle or wood spoon (or whatever you have) to prevent burning, and continue until all the water is dried from the grain and they begin to pop and have a lightly roasted smell... carefully add your water (3 cups for 1 cup of millet) to the pan or pour the toasted millet into a pot with the boiling water... bring to a boil again, then reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes... remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before fluffing and serving
buckwheat groats are gluten-free, high in protein, and have a great balance of amino acids... they are highly versatile and are a wonderful addition to many different dishes - delicious with potatoes, mixed with rice, in burgers, stuffings, casseroles, in veggie soups and as a breakfast grain... to cook: bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of buckwheat, stir, turn heat to low, partially cover with a lid and let cook for 15 minutes... put the lid on for the last 5 minutes and let it steam for another 10 to get the best texture, then open and stir gently to serve... both raw and roasted buckwheat groats are available, but we much prefer raw!
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 sacred grain.
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 level.
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 soft grain.
Quinoa is a high energy grain and is easy to digest, making it an ideal endurance and fitness food. In traditional medicine quinoa strengthens the kidneys and heart, as well as the whole body. Quinoa is thought to be drying and therefore good for people with candida type yeast infections, edema, and overweight conditions. Quinoa is also a warming grain, good in cold weather and believed to be good for people who tend to be cold. In Ayurvedic medicine quinoa decreases kapha; vatta and pitta type people may use it in moderation. 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 vitamin E.
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.
Basic Quinoa - Makes about 4 cups
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.
Eden Organic Quinoa - 1 lb. Packages
next recipe | previous recipe | index