Before we begin our weekly grain lessons, I have two questions for you. Why in the world do you need to store any whole grain at all? If you read my column last week, I mentioned that the shelf life of white flour is about five years, but the shelf life of whole grains is generally thirty years or more. It makes sense to store whole grain because it will last longer, but there’s another important reason. NUTRITION! That’s a big reason for me. Whole grains have more vitamins and fiber and all the healthy stuff our bodies need. If I’m in a crisis mode, I want to make sure I’m feeding my body healthy, nourishing things.
Okay, next question. Can’t wheat do everything we need? Why not make it easy on ourselves and store just wheat? Well, you could, but you will have a much tastier food product if you use a variety of grains. For example, last week I talked about soft wheat for pancakes and pastry items. You could use the hard wheat (the kind you use for bread), but your pancakes will be a lot heavier and chewier than if you use soft wheat.
That’s not that big a deal, right? Well, no it isn’t, but I know my family is a lot happier with pancakes made with other grains than with hard wheat only. They just taste better, but there’s another reason: NUTRITION! (Can you tell I like that about grains?) Each grain is chock full of different good stuff for us, especially fiber. Lots of those store-bought cereals have added the whole grains to try and provide you with that fiber. Also, if I only have wheat, I’m missing out on the extra zinc and magnesium that Kamut will give me or the rich amino acids and lysine from millet. Each grain is a super star, giving us a variety of health benefits. If you have that variety of grains, your body will enjoy the balance nature has to offer.
Come back next week, and we’ll see what we can learn about rice.
By Chrystalyn Trimble