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Foods 266. grains. Grains are the seed or part of the plant that people eat. The main nutrients found in grain foods are carbohydrates and fat . Whole grain products contain all 3 parts of the kernel. Refined products had the bran and germ removed during processing. Grain structure.

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grain structure
Grains are the seed or part of the plant that people eat.

The main nutrients found in grain foods are carbohydrates and fat.

Whole grain products contain all 3 parts of the kernel.

Refined productshad the bran and germ removed during processing.

Grain structure
from farm to table
Grains are usually dried for storage

Cooking grains with liquid rehydrates the grain and makes it tender and edible.

From Farm to table
a staple in diets around the world
A staple in diets around the world

People all around the world value grains as an important part their food supply.

  • Large variety
  • Easy to store
  • High nutritional value
grains you might be familiar with
Grains you might be familiar with…
  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Rye
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Served around the world
  • Increases in volume as it cooks yielding a high profit
  • Many varieties of rice- all of which come in short, medium and long grain
common rice
Brown rice has had the hull removed, but contains the bran, germ and endosperm = whole grain 

Takes longer to cook & needs more water

Chewy texture & nutty taste

White rice contains only the endosperm = less vitamins & minerals

Cooks quickly with less water

Lighter texture

Parboiled or converted rice and instant rice have been partially or fully cooked and then dried

Allows the consumer to prepare it in minimal time

Common rice
specialty rice
Many interesting & flavorful rices that are eaten around the world have become popular in the U.S.




Red Rice

Wild Rice

Arborio rice is used for risotto

Basmati & Jasmine rice are used commonly in Indian & middle eastern cooking, as well as pilafs

Red rice is similar to brown rice, but with a red hue & earthy flavor

Wild rice is not actually a rice, but a wild water grass!

Specialty rice

Semolina flour is used to make pasta

  • It’s more than just flour & bread!
  • Very versatile grain that is milled into semolina and cracked wheat- both good for side dishes, stuffings and casseroles
  • Couscous is made from semolina

Cracked wheat is known as Bulgar

  • Corn is the only grain that is also served fresh as a vegetable
  • As a dried grain, it comes in two main forms:



Cornmeal is used to make breads and polenta

Hominy is used to make Mexican posole soup. It is also cracked or ground to produce grits or masaharina used to make tortillas.


Barley is often added to soups & stews giving them a hearty consistency

  • Barley is a hardy grain that can be grown in most climates
  • It is available unmilled or in a form called pearled barley, which has been milled & polished

Barley makes a great poultry or vegetable stuffing

Barley can also be used for side dishes, like in this barley pilaf


Oatmeal is a plain, hot cereal that is easy to “dress up”

  • Oats can be purchased as oatmeal, or in whole grain form as groatsor oat berries

It also makes a nutritious & flavorful addition to cookies & breads

Groats can also be served as a hot cereal, or used like other grains for stuffings & side dishes


Rye flour is used to make rye breads

  • Rye is a grass grown mainly for grain
  • It is closely related to wheat & barley

It is also used in the production on vodka & some beers

Ergot, a fungus which attacks the rye grain can cause ergot poisoning, a.k.a. St. Anthony’s fire, and is linked to hysterical symptoms of young women that spurred the Salem witch trials!


Can be added to soups & stews

  • Quinoa is high in protein
  • It cooks fast, similar to couscous
  • Makes a nutritious substitution for rice in almost any recipe

Can be the base of both hot side dishes or cold salads

Works well as a stuffing base


Buckwheat flour can be used in both quick breads & yeast breads, and in cereals

  • Known as Kasha
  • Not related to the “wheat” plant
  • Roasted buckwheat can be purchased ground or cracked
  • Buckwheat contains no gluten

Buckwheat (Soba) noodles play an important role in Japanese & Korean cuisine

Buckwheat “porridge” has been a common peasant food in western Asia & Eastern Europe

Starch is a complex carbohydrate stored in plants

Cereal grains, like rice & barley are high in starch

Cooks use starches like wheat flour, cornstarch and tapioca as thickening agents

cooking starches
Cooking Starches

A slurry of flour & water can be added to meat drippings and stock to produce a gravy

  • When a starch is mixed with a cold liquid, and then heated to a boil, the starch granules swell and the mixture thickens.
  • This process is called gelatinization.

Milk & eggs are cooked with cornstarch to thicken a pudding or custard

Tapioca can be boiled with fruit juices to make a fruit sauce or thicken a pie filling

cooking grains
Cooking Grains

Many grains can be boiled, like in this polenta preparation

Some are boiled until all liquid is absorbed, others are boiled until tender and then excess liquid is drained away

Many grain side dishes are prepared by braising, or the “pilaf method” where the grain is first sautéed with fat & aromatics before a cooking liquid is added to finish the cooking by steaming

Other grains, like rice, are steamed until cooking liquid is completely absorbed

cooking grains continued
Cooking grains continued…

Although time consuming, the risotto method produces grain dishes that are creamy, due to the slow release of starch.

This method is like a combination of the boiling & pilaf method, where the grain is first sautéed, and then cooking liquid is added in small amounts, over & over, stirring constantly with each addition until the liquid has absorbed.

Butter, olive oil or cheese is often stirred in just before serving.