Friday, September 14, 2012

The Power of Three

In September we celebrate Whole Grains Month. A whole grain product is made with the bran, endosperm, and germ of the grain kernel. Hence, the power of three. Because the bran and germ are present, whole grain products have more fiber and antioxidants than their refined grain counter-parts. Perhaps your past experience eating whole grains has been like that of comedian Robin Williams, who said “The first time I ate organic whole-grain bread I swear it tasted like roofing material."  Well, cooking with whole grains has come a long way. Read on for a little guidance and inspiration in adding more whole grain foods to your diet.

When we think of whole grains, the first thing that usually comes to mind is bread. If you find the idea of baking your own bread a bit intimidating, how about first checking out a DVD on the subject? Video Bread Basics: My First Loaf offers step-by-step instructions. Video Bread How to Bake Bread at Home
demonstrates baking different kinds of breads, even pizza crust.

Turn to The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking  by Laurel Robertson. This book not only has clear, easily followed recipes, but the “Loaf for Learning” section offers explanations that will give you the knowledge to tweak recipes and bread dough rising times as needed.

Of course, whole grain recipes offer versatility far beyond just bread. Take a look at A.D. Livingston’s The Whole Grain Cookbook: Delicious Recipes for Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rye, Amaranth, Spelt, Corn, Millet, Quinoa, and More, with Instructions for Milling your Own . Or check out Ancient Grains for Modern Meals: Mediterranean Whole Grain Recipes for Barley, Farro, Kamut, Polenta, Wheat Berries and More.  You may find yourself on a short waiting list for this one, as it’s gotten quite a bit of well-deserved press attention. The author, Maria Speck, shares the history of whole grains, as well as a very useful quick guide to cooking various grains, and terrific recipes.

If some of the grains listed above are new to you, you’re not alone. I had to look up kamut, which is a brand of khorosan wheat. Although it’s closely related to wheat, people who are wheat-intolerant can eat kamut. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is considered a whole grain, but is actually a seed; it’s slightly crunchy with a nutty flavor.

At least half the grains we eat should be whole grains. Happily, whole grains are more widely available than they used to be, in grocery stores, schools, and businesses. So, have sandwiches with whole-grain bread. Try whole-wheat crust pizza, and offer popcorn to your kids when they come home from school this fall. Hopefully the library’s resources will make it a little easier and more interesting to add the Power of Three to your mealtimes.

Happy Whole Grains Month.  Amy @ Warrenton Library

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