Cereals

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Conservation, Preparation, Cooking, Varieties: Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Millet,  Oats, Quinoa, Rice, Rye, Triticale, Wheat, Recipes 1, 2

Cereals are the basis of human food since agriculture began. All over the world, we can find different kind of cereals and each cereal can be prepared in a different way.

Conservation  All cereal can be conserved in the form of grain.They don’t like humidity and heat. They can be conserved in boxes or hermetically closed bags.

Preparation  Most of the time, cereals are used in bread, noodles, flour, semolina, milk, or as their original grains but each cereal has it’s own possibilities and varieties. We don’t find all the essential elements in cereals, so it’s better to eat them with pulses (beans, peas) to get an optimum nutritive contribution. If you eat cereals in spread form, you retain some more vitamins and essential elements. If you eat it in flour form, don’t forget to get a cereal wheel, to mill your cereal just before eating it, because the most nutritious parts of the cereal stay in the entire grain.

Cooking Some cereals take a long time to cook in the form of grains: oats, wheat, spelt, barley, rye, whole grain (brown) rice. Rince them then leave them to soak overnight in three times their volume of water and then, let them cook in this same water, which is the opposite of when pulses (beans, peas) are soaked, because in this water, they have already lost a part of their vitamins, minerals salt… and it will continue while they will cook.
Cereals are very nutritious foods, as they contain starch, proteins, minerals, oligo-elements, vitamins, vegetal fibers, oil. But that’s true only for whole grain organic cereals. Cereals cultivated with fertilizers and chemicals contain chemical residues which penetrate into the human body and the different treatments to refine them turn them without anything good for the health. With refined cereals, you make some white flour, white bread, white noodles, and if you eat that, you think that it shows that you’re on a higher social level, richer etc. anything, but in fact, you are eating something without any taste, any nutritive elements and bad for your health.

Varieties   Amaranth  It’s not really a cereal but it’s used as a cereal and as a spread. It was the basic food of the Aztek and the Incas. With it’s seeds, we make flour for cakes and bread, we can eat it’s leaves as vegetables. It’s very nutritious.

Barley  Opposite to oats, barley is good for warm weather. It can be hulled or pearled, that depends on how it’s grain is decorticated. Hulled barley is more complete than pearled barley. Barley is good for soup, flour, salad and actually, barley’s juice is in fashion again.

Buckwheat  Very famous in Central Europe and in Brittany, but not only, buckwheat is often cooked in girdle-cakes (galette), pancakes, flour, soup, and as a japanese noodle called « soba« . It’s not really a cereal but it’s used like a cereal. Someplaces it’s called only buckwheat, in other places « black wheat ». It can be roasted too.

Corn  It was the holy plant ot the Azteks, the Mayas and the Incas. In Europe, it’s used as food for the cattle. With corn, you can cook polenta, maple syrup, flour, pop corn, vinegar.

Millet  There are different varieties, and some of them are cultivated in Africa: the « Teff« , as millet, especially cultivated in Ethiopia, the « sorgho » or big mil that we can find in Africa, India, China and the « fonio« , an another cereal from Africa. They are very useful to make bread, girdle-cakes, beer, main dishes but not very well known in the West.

 

Oats  It’s a very energetic cereal especially good for cold weather. With it, you can make flakes, or rolled oats, flour, milk, bran, it’s used to make soup more hearty, to make cake better and richer beer.

Quinoa  We say, it’s the Inca’s rice. It has small grains, like millet and give many possibilities to be cooked: warm dishes, salads, soups,…and in South America for an alcohol beverage, the Chicha. Wildquinoa has black grains but is cooked like the lighter variety.

Rice  This cereal is so universal that it seems, that we don’t need to present it. There are more than 8 000 different varieties all over the world. From whole grain (or brown) rice to white rice that has no nutrients because refined, there’s nothing in common. Organic rice can be surprising: wild rice, black rice, red rice, whole grain (brown), semi whole grain, long, round, basmati, indica,… flour, milk, girdle-cake, the list seems to never stop. It’s also useful for sugared or alcoholic beverages especially in Asia and for vinegar.

Rye  It’s not only found in bread, but also in whisky, beer and vodka. We can find it as flakes, flour or fermented grain for vinegar.

Triticale (Triticosecale)  This cereal come from crossing rye and wheat. We can eat it as entire grains, ground grains, flakes, flour to cook noodles, tortillas or pancakes.

Wheat  There’s the hard wheat, coming from two cereal : the « amari » and the « engrain« , the tender wheat (froment, other name), spelt, also called « green wheat » when it’s harvested before it is ripe, and « kamut » a kind of wheat coming from Egypt. There’s many possibilities to transform wheat: ground, hulled, flaked, bran, blown, semolina, couscous, flour, boulghour, seitan (made with gluten taken from hard wheat’s flour), maple syrup. We can find it in bread, noodles, and very useful dishes. With wheat’s seed we make oil and the germ is very nutritious.

Recipe 2  Millet’s galettes 
100 gr of millet per person, let it boil for some time in pure salted water and let it finish cooking in the Norwegian pot. Then dry it well, put it into a dish and add eggs as if you were cooking an omelette. Grate some cheese: comté, gruyère, masdam or another one, add to the millet and the eggs, add spices as you like and mix well before letting it cook in a buttered or oiled pan. Cook on one side, then turn it on the other side and put some more grated cheese on. When the cheese is well melted, the galette begins to be golden, your kitchen smells good and your stomach gurgles, it’s time to savor it. Warm or cold, depending on the season and your wish, with a salad from different raw vegetables or with cooked vegetables -some broccoli, slowly cooked in a steamer  with a teaspoonful of sunflower or olive oil. Before the first spoonful, if your stomach has not became mad as yet, admire the opposition between the green color of the broccoli and the tender yellow lightly golden color of the galette, savor in advance how the trunk of the broccoli will be crunchy, how the cheese and the millet mixed together will be melting, how the broccoli head will be sweet and the sudden crunch of a piece of browned cheese.

Recipe 1  Buckwheat with dry fruits
100 gr of buckwheat per person, let it cook in boiled salted water, 2 times its volume, for 5 minutes. Simmer after boiling, then turn it off and let it blow up for 5 minutes more. At the same time, in the pan, brown one or several finely chopped onions, then add raisins, dried apricots, dried dates or dried figs, or any combination of them as you like, chopped up into small pieces. Then add a small spoon of tomato paste, a little water and let cook for a while. Take the buckwheat out, dry it well, put it in a dish and coat it with your preparation of dried fruits and tomato paste. You can eat this meal with cooked vegetables, after a salad, or a boiled egg.