Tips for Cooking Whole Grains
With all of the choices for whole grains, you may ask “where do I begin.” Once you know what type of grain you need in a recipe, here are some tips for buying and cooking whole grains.
Each grain has its own cooking time, so read up on what you will be working with. Seeds like quinoa and amaranth are quick cooking and are ready in less than 15 minutes. Others like kamut and buckwheat are harder grains and require a longer cook time, even benefiting from an overnight soak in water. 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.
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 salads (just toss with chopped veggies, dressing, and anything else that suits your fancy), or toss a few handfuls in some canned soup. Cook once, and then take it easy.