Wondering how to use those whole wheat berries you just brought home from the farmer’s market? Which one of these strikes your fancy?
An easy way to reduce the cooking time for all grains is to pass them through a table-mounted, hand-cranked, roller mill. It is also called a grain flaker mill. We have one on display at market and we highly recommend it. We have had one for over 10 years and we love it—especially our children. It turns wheat berries into cracked wheat for a delicious breakfast porridge (known as cream of wheat). It turns rye berries into cracked rye, which can also be used in a breakfast porridge. It turns oats into beautiful, truly old-fashioned rolled oats. Most important, it’s an easy and fun way to include small children in food preparations. They love it and it connects them. It is a great step in eating wholesome, fresh food.
So you bought your grains but are not sure how to cook them properly? Let us guide you! To cook your whole groats (wheat, oat, rye, or barley), simply
- Combine 1 part grain with 3 parts water in a heavy saucepan with a pinch of salt (use 1/4 – 1/3 cup uncooked grain per serving)
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce heat to medium low
- Simmer, covered, for 50 minutes-1 hour until grains are tender, but pleasantly chewy
Once you have cooked your grains, they can be drained and used right away or cooled and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Add them to soups, dress with vinaigrette for grain salads, combine with nuts, seeds, berries, honey and yogurt for breakfast, or use them simply in place of rice or quinoa.
You can reduce cooking time by first soaking grains overnight, or up to 48 hours. For this method, cover grains with filtered water by one inch, and leave to soak for at least 12 hours or up to 48 (if you are soaking them for longer than 12 hours, store them in the refrigerator). Drain, discarding soaking liquid, and cover with 2 parts water to 1 part grain in a heavy saucepan. Add a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until tender. Cooking time will depend on how long the grains were allowed to soak.
See our pages devoted to individual grains for additional serving suggestions and recipes.