How to Cook Whole Grains

Barley

Barley is available pearled (the bran has been removed) or quick cooking (parboiled). Technically neither are whole grains but nutritionally speaking they count toward your whole-grain servings because of their high fiber content.

To Cook: Pearl barley

Bring 1 cup barley and 2 1/2 cups water or broth to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Makes 3-3 1/2 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving

97 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 73 mg potassium.

To Cook: Quick-cooking barley

Bring 1 3/4 cups water or broth to a boil; add 1 cup barley. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 2 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving

86 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 64 mg potassium.

Brown Rice

Brown rice has been minimally processed, just enough to sort and remove the inedible outer husk, leaving the nutritious outer bran layer intact. You can find brown versions of most types of rice, including short-,medium- and long-grain, jasmine and basmati.*

To Cook:

Bring 1 cup rice and 2 1/2 cups water or broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40-50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Makes 3 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving

108 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber; 5 mg sodium; 42 mg potassium.

*You can also find quick-cooking or instant brown rice, which is ready in 5-10 minutes. Follow cooking instructions on the package.

Bulgur

Bulgur is available in fine, medium and coarse textures. (If itsnot labeled, its usually fine or medium.) Unless a recipe calls for a specific texture, any type can be used. Dont confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which is simply thatcracked wheat. Cracked wheat must be cooked for up to an hour; bulgur is cracked wheat thats been parboiled so it simply needs to soak in hot water for most uses.

To Cook:

Bring 1 cup bulgur and 1 1/2cups water or broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered,until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 10-15 minutes.Or pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water or broth over 1 cup bulgur. Let stand,covered, until light and fluffy, about 30 minutes. If all the water is not absorbed let the bulgur stand longer, or press it in a strainer to remove excess liquid. Makes 2 1/2-3 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving:

76 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 4 g fiber; 5 mg sodium; 62 mg potassium.

Farro

Farro (or Emmer) is usually sold in the U.S. semi-pearled (sometimes labeled semiperlato), meaning some of the bran layer has been removed.If you find farro that is not semi-pearled, it needs to be soaked in water overnight before cooking and will need to cook for 30 to 45minutes more to become tender. Farro has a satisfying chewy texture and nutty flavor. It can be used in baked goods and soups.

To Cook:

Bring 3 cups water or broth and1 cup farro to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to a simmer and cook,uncovered, until the farro is tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain. Makes 3cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving:

111 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 4 gprotein; 3 g fiber; 0 mg sodium; 139 mg potassium.

Millet

Millet is hulled (the outer husk has been removed and the grain isleft intact), leaving tiny yellow balls. Toasting millet in a large dry skillet over medium heat for 4 minutes before cooking helps it retain its shape. It does not contain gluten, so may be tolerated by some people with celiac disease.

To Cook:

Bring 2 1/2 cups water or broth to a boil; add 1 cup millet. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered,until tender, 20-25 minutes. Makes 3 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving:

104 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 1 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 54 mg potassium.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a delicately flavored grain that was a staple in the ancient Incas diet. Toasting the grain before cooking enhances its flavor and rinsing removes any residue of sapon in, quinoas natural,bitter protective covering.

To Cook:

Bring 2 cups water or broth to a boil; add 1 cup quinoa. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Makes 3 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving:

111calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 6 mg sodium; 159 mg potassium.

Spelt

Spelt is a cereal grain with a mild nutty flavor and a relatively high protein content.

To Cook:

Bring 2 cups water or broth to a boil; add 1 cup spelt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender, about 1 hour. Makes 3 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving:

123 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 5 mg sodium; 139 mg potassium.

Wheat Berries

Wheat berries of any variety (hard, soft, spring or winter) can be used interchangeably. Labeling is inconsistentyou may find them labeled hard red winter wheat without the words wheat berries. Some recipes instruct soaking overnight, but we found it unnecessary.

To Cook:

Sort through wheat berries carefully, discarding any stones, and rinse with water. Bring 4 cups water or broth and 1 cup wheat berries to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, but still a little chewy, about 1 hour. Drain. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving:

151 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 4 g fiber; 263 mg sodium; 0 mg potassium.

Wild Rice

Wild rice, a staple of Native Americans in Minnesota, is not a rice at all, but rather the only aquatic-derived grain native to North America.*

To Cook:

Cook 1 cup rice in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling waterat least 4 cupsuntil tender,45-55 minutes. Drain. Makes 2-2 1/2 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving:

83 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 1 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 83 mg potassium.

*You can also find “quick” wild ricea whole-grain rice that cooks in less than 30 minutesor “instant” wild rice that’s done in 10 minutes or less. Follow cooking instructions on the package.

What exactly is a whole grain?

Grains are made up of three parts: the bran, germ and endosperm. The bran is the high-fiber outer coating. The germ is the protein- and nutrient-dense portion. The endosperm is a source of carbohydrate along with some protein. A grain is whole if these three parts have been left intact. If its processed (e.g., cracked, rolled or cooked), its still considered a whole grain if it retains its original balance of nutrients. When grains are refined the bran and germ are removed(taking many nutrients with them), leaving just the endosperm. Examples of a refined whole grain are white flour or white rice (though usually white rice is enriched to replace some of the nutrients stripped during processing).

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