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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Sep 4, 2012

Ancient Grains

I have been seeing references to 'ancient grains' in many places - the bread aisle, the cracker aisle, articles on healthy eating.  This led me to wonder what ancient grains are and, after researching, I found that there is one theme.  There is not 'standard' definition of an ancient grain.  While agreed that an ancient grain is old and nutritionally more complete than our most used modern grains, the list of items included is extensive.  My very unscientific method of choosing what is to appear here is to check 10 websites and post those that appeared in 5 or more of the lists.

1.  Quinoa - I have enjoyed both a 'standard' brown colored Quinoa and a red quinoa.  This grain can be used in place of rice in most dishes.  From
"One of the ancient food staples of the Incas,it was called "The Mother Grain." An ivory-colored, tiny, bead-shaped grain. Its flavor is delicate, almost bland, and has been compared to couscous or rice. Quinoa is lighter, but can be used in any way suitable for rice. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain, and is higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains and is a very good source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, B vitamins,and vitamin E. Quinoa's slow-releasing carbohydrates help to maintain blood sugar levels."  Read more at:
 2.  Amaranth - Never heard of it. let alone tried it, but I am intrigued.  Many parts of this plant are edible - for this post, the seeds are the focus as we are looking at grains, but the leaves are also edible, similar to spinach or kale.  From
"Once considered a weed in the U.S., this annual is now acknowledged as a nutritious high-protein food. Amaranth greens have a delicious, slightly sweet flavor and can be used both in cooking and for salads. The seeds are used as cereal or ground into flour for bread."  Read more at:
3.   Millet - Don't I feed this to my birds?  From WHFoods:  
"Although millet is most often associated as the main ingredient in bird seed, it is not just "for the birds." Creamy like mashed potatoes or fluffy like rice, millet is a delicious grain that can accompany many types of food. As with most grains, millet is available in markets throughout the year."  Read more at

4.  Spelt - Heard of it, still don't know what it is.  From USA Emergency Supply:
"Spelt contains 15 - 21% protein which is much higher than wheat. It's also higher than wheat in complex carbohydrates, iron, potassium and the B Vitamins. Spelt is easier to digest than wheat products because of it's higher solubility in water. Spelt also contains nutrients that aid in blood clotting and also stimulate the immune system. Due to Spelt's high water solubility and fragile gluten, the grain's vital substances can be absorbed quickly by the body with a minimum of digestive work. Spelt contains special carbohydrates which play a decisive role in blood clotting and stimulate the body's immune system. It's high fiber content aids in reducing cholesterol and heart disease. It's also nice to know that something as healthy as Spelt also has a great flavor. Spelt is just another example of what great nutrition should taste like.

Cooking with Spelt flour is similar to cooking with wheat flour. You can make all the same dishes such as pancakes and waffles, muffins, cakes, crackers and cookies, pastas and breads. Because of it's lower gluten content, however, you will probably not wish to let it rise as high as regular wheat flour bread. When baking, Spelt flour doesn't require as much water - if substituting spelt flour for wheat flour in your favorite recipe, start by using only 3/4ths as much water."  Read more at

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