Whole Grain Guide

Whole Grain Guide

Whole grains (including brown rice, wheat berries, barley, and more) are grains that have some or all of their outer layers (husk, germ, etc) intact, as opposed to refined grains, which have these layers removed. Whole grains have a hearty, nutty flavor and are very healthy – they have more fiber than refined white grains, so your body processes them more slowly. This prevents blood sugar spikes and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Whole grains also have more nutrients than refined grains, since these nutrients are in the outer layers of the grain that gets taken away to make refined grains. Whole grains do take longer to cook, so plan ahead. You can work new grains into your meals by mixing them with more familiar ones and eating them with favorite dishes.

Information adapted from the Food Network

Grain What is it? Water* Ratio Cooking Instructions
Barley, hulled Chewy grain, high nutritional value. Serve like rice or add to soups. 3 parts water to 1 part barley Bring water and 1 pinch salt per cup barley to a boil. Add barley, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover pot. Simmer 40-50 minutes.
Barley, pearled More of the outer layers are removed than for hulled barley, allowing it to cook faster. Only slightly less nutritious than hulled barley 3 parts water to 1 part barley Bring water and 1 pinch salt per cup barley to a boil. Add barley, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover pot. Simmer 30 minutes.
Brown rice Rice that still has the outer layers of the kernel, containing many nutrients that are destroyed in white rice. 2 parts water to 1 part brown rice Bring water and 1 pinch salt per cup brown rice to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover pot. Simmer 40-50 minutes. Let stand with heat off 10 minutes before serving.
Corn grits/ polenta Whole corn kernels, ground 3.5 parts water to 1 part corn grits Bring water and 1 pinch salt per cup grits to a boil. Add grits, whisking to prevent clumps. Reduce heat to a low boil and cook, stirring frequently, for 30-50 minutes, depending on how coarse the grind
Farro Grain related to wheat. The kernels are chewy, with a nutty flavor. Good in soups, salads, and pilafs. Plenty of water Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add farro, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 25 minutes, until grains are tender.
Quinoa (KEEN-wa) High-protein seed native to South America. Especially good in pilafs. Check package to see if it’s pre-rinsed – if not, rinse it to remove a bitter outer coating. 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa Place quinoa, water, and 1 pinch salt per cup quinoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until grains are tender and little spirals are separating off. Let stand 5 minutes off heat, covered before serving.
Spelt Grain related to wheat and very similar to farro. The kernels are firmer than farro and chewy, with a nutty flavor. Good in soups, salads, and pilafs. Plenty of water Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add spelt, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 50 minutes, until grains are tender.
Wheat berries Whole kernels of wheat.  The kernels are chewy, with a nutty flavor. Good in soups, salads, and pilafs. Plenty of water Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add wheat berries, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 50 minutes, until grains are tender but still a bit chewy.
Wild Rice Actually a grass, not a grain, but nutritionally similar and cooked similarly. Different types are available. 3 parts water to 1 part wild rice Bring water and 1 pinch salt per cup wild rice to a boil. Add wild, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover pot. Simmer 35-65 minutes (depending on variety), until tender.

*You can also cook any of these grains in chicken or vegetable stock for more flavor.

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