Whole Grain Sampling Day – April 1April 1 is National Whole Grain Sampling Day. It’s the perfect time to try a new whole grain – ancient or new. According to a 2014 survey by the International Food Information Council, 72% of consumers are seeking more whole grains. Whole Grains also feature strongly in the National Restaurant Association's "What's Hot for 2015" survey of chefs, including "Whole Grains in Kids' Meals" as the top Kids' Meal trend behind the generic "Healthful Kids' Meals".
Studies show that switching to whole grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. While benefits are most pronounced for those consuming at least 3 servings daily, some studies show reduced risks from as little as one serving daily – so every whole grain in the diet helps.
Whole grain consumption is on the rise, due in large part to increased availability of a wide range of delicious and healthy grains for every palate. According to SPINS, a market research and consulting firm, sales of natural foods and beverages with the Whole Grain Stamp increased 9.9% over the last year.
You can add whole grains to your meals without cooking, simply by choosing breads, breakfast cereals, and other prepared whole grain foods. If you'd like to enjoy delicious whole grains at home as a side dish, however, here are some guidelines for cooking them from scratch.Plain Grains, general directions
Cooking most grains is very similar to cooking rice. You put the dry grain in a pan with water or broth, bring it to a boil, then simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Pasta is generally cooked in a larger amount of water; the excess is drained away after cooking. Don't be intimidated!
Grain Pilaf, general directions
Brown small bits of onion, mushroom and garlic in a little oil in a saucepan. Add grain and cook briefly, coating the grains in oil. Then add broth in the amount specified below, and cook until all liquid is absorbed.
Important: Time VariesGrains can vary in cooking time depending on the age of the grain, the variety, and the pans you're using to cook. When you decide they're tender and tasty, they're done. If the grain is not as tender as you like when "time is up," simply add more water and continue cooking. Or, if everything seems fine before the liquid is all absorbed, simply drain the excess.
If you want to cook grains more quickly, let them sit in the allotted amount of water for a few hours before cooking. Just before dinner, add extra water if necessary, then cook. You'll find that cooking time is much shorter with a little pre-soaking
Another shortcut is to cook whole grains in big batches. Grains keep 3-4 days in your fridge and take just minutes to warm up with a little added water or broth. You can also use the leftovers for cold grain salads (just toss with chopped veggies, dressing, and anything else that suits your fancy), or toss a few handfuls into some canned soup. Cook once, then take it easy.There are also many quick-cooking grain side-dishes on the market, even including 90-second brown rice. These grains have been pre-cooked so you only need to cook them briefly or simply warm them through in the microwave.
Source: Whole Grains Council