Grains 101

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Grains 101

You are looking through your cookbook and see a recipe that sounds good. You go to the cupboard and realize you are missing an important ingredient. Can you substitute and still get the same result? Or do you run to the store to get just 1 item? Hopefully the list below will help you know when and when not to substitute those grains.

Short and Medium-Grain White Rice 10 to 15 min
Long-Grain White Rice 12 to 17 min
Converted White Rice 12 to 17 min
Short and Medium-Grain Brown Rice 22 to 27 min
Long-Grain Brown Rice 25 to 30 min
Converted Brown Rice 12 to 17 min
Wild Rice 35 to 40 min
Basmati, Jasmine and Texmati Rice 12 to 17 min

Things to keep in mind are that white rice has a longer shelf life than brown rice. Because B1 is removed in the processing of rice, white rice has now been enriched with the nutrient. Also for diabetics, white rice does transform into glucose much quicker so brown rice is a healthier option.


Amaranth – This grain should never be rinsed before using. It is best cooked in the microwave or as a pilaf. In the microwave use 1 c Amaranth and 2 c water and cook on high 7 minutes. Continue cooking on medium for an addition 15 to 20 minutes. As a pilaf it will take 20 to 25 minutes with 1 c of the grain and 1 ½ c of water.


Pearl Barley – Best cooked on the stove top, it will take 25 minutes using 1 c of barley to 4 quarts of water.


Buckwheat (often called Kasha today) – also uses 1 c with 4 quarts of water but only takes 5 minutes on the stove top.


Bulgar – Is more versatile as it prepares well in the microwave, on the stove top or as a pilaf.


Couscous – This is another grain (actually a pasta) that should never be rinsed. It does well in the microwave as well as the stove top. It is very versatile and a variety of herbs, broths and nuts can be used to change it up every time. Microwave on high 4 minutes than finish on medium for 5 minutes. (Be sure to check on its progress) On the stove top equal parts couscous and water and it is ready in less than 10 minutes


Millet – Makes a great pilaf and is often found in the mixes purchased at the grocery store. 1 cup of the grain with 2 ¼ c of water are ready to eat in less than 30 minutes. Browning the grain for your pilaf will tend to take longer then others, count on 10 to 15 minutes.


Quinoa – is something you have seen if you ever watch CHOPPED on Food Network. It requires 4 quarts of water when cooked on the stove but when microwaved or cooked pilaf style equal parts grain and water will get the job done. The best part is that is ready in about 10 minutes.


Wheat Berries – should be cooked on the stove top and require a full hour to be cooked.

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