Self-Reliant Info: Grain Week: 17 grains for your self-reliance and preparedness Amaranth: Amaranth is a "pseudo-grain" like quinoa and buckwheat, but is listed with other grains because its nutritional profile and uses are similar to "true" cereal grains. It has no gluten, so it must be mixed with wheat to make leavened breads. It has a higher level of protein (it's roughly 13-14% protein) compared to most other grains. Amaranth has a high level of very complete protein; its protein contains lysine, an amino acid missing or negligible in many grains. Barley: One of the oldest cultivated grains, Barley is a highly-adaptable crop, growing north of the Arctic circle and as far south as Ethiopia. It has a particularly tough hull, though hulled barley is available at health food stores. Lightly pearled barley is not technically a whole grain, because small amounts of the bran are missing, but it's full of fiber and much healthier than a fully-refined grain. The fiber in barley is especially healthy; it may lower cholesterol even more effectively than oat fiber. Buckwheat: Botanically, buckwheat is a cousin of rhubarb, not technically a grain at all – and certainly not a kind of wheat. But its nutrients, nutty flavor and appearance have led to its ready adoption into the family of grains. Buckwheat tolerates poor soil, grows well on rocky hillsides and thrives without chemical pesticides. Buckwheat is the only grain known to have high levels of an antioxidant called rutin, and studies show that it improves circulation and prevents LDL cholesterol from blocking blood vessels. O'Tay? Bulgur Wheat: When wheat kernels are boiled, dried, cracked, then sorted by size, the result is bulgur. Bulgur is most often made from durum wheat, but in fact almost any wheat, hard or soft, red or white, can be made into bulgur. Because bulgur has been precooked and dried, it needs to be boiled for only about 10 minutes to be ready to eat – about the same time as dry pasta. Bulgur has more fiber than quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat or corn. Corn (including Popcorn): Although sometimes dismissed as a nutrient-poor starch – both a second-rate vegetable and a second-rate grain – corn is lately being reassessed and viewed as a healthy food. A new study shows that corn has the highest level of antioxidants of any grain or vegetable – almost twice the antioxidant activity of apples! Be sure you're getting whole corn by avoiding labels that say "degerminated" and looking for the words "whole corn." Farro/Emmer: Emmer is an ancient strain of wheat, one of the first cereals ever domesticated. Over the centuries, emmer was gradually abandoned in favor of durum wheat, which is easier to hull. In some places around the world, emmer is known as farro and is staging a comeback. Kamut®: Kamut is an heirloom grain that was once pushed aside by an agricultural monoculture but now returning to add variety to the food supply. Kamut has higher levels of protein than common wheat, and more Vitamin E. (Note that the name Kamut is actually a registered trademark, which is why the word has the ® symbol next to it.) Millet: Not to be confused with the fish or the hairstyle....In the United States, it's the grain most often found in bird feeders. However, it's the leading staple grain in India, and is commonly eaten in China, South America, Russia and the Himalayas. Millet has a mild flavor and is often mixed with other grains or toasted before cooking, to bring out the full extent of its delicate flavor. Its tiny grain can be white, gray, yellow or red. Oats: Oats have a sweet flavor that makes them a favorite for breakfast cereals. Unique among grains, oats almost never have their bran and germ removed in processing. In the U.S., most oats are steamed and flattened to produce "old-fashioned" or regular oats, quick oats, and instant oats. If you prefer a chewier, nuttier texture, consider steel-cut oats, also sometimes called Irish or Scottish oats. Steel-cut oats consist of the entire oat kernel (similar in look to a grain of rice), sliced once or twice into smaller pieces to help water penetrate and cook the grain. Scientific studies have concluded that like barley, oats contain a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan found to be especially effective in lowering cholesterol. Recent research reports indicate that oats also have a unique antioxidant, avenanthramides, that helps protect blood vessels from the damaging effects of LDL cholesterol. Quadrotriticale: (pronounced "quádro-trítĭ-kay-lee") is a high-yield, perennial, four-lobed grain, genetically engineered hybrid of wheat and rye with a bluish color. The root grain, triticale, can trace its ancestry back to 20th century Canada. Pavel Chekov, however, claimed that "it [was] a Russian invention." As of 2269 it was the only Earth grain able to grow on Sherman's Planet. In 2268, Federation undersecretary Nilz Baris transported several tons of quadrotriticale to Deep Space K-7, intending to send it to Sherman's Planet. He ordered Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise to protect the grain. The grain, however, was later discovered to be poisoned by the Klingons, through the assistance of their Intelligence operative, Arne Darvin. The discovery was made when untended tribbles got into the grain silos and ate the poisoned grain, and soon after died from the poison. Quinoa: Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is botanically a relative of swiss chard and beets rather than a "true" grain. Quinoa is a small, light-colored round grain, similar in appearance to sesame seeds. But quinoa is also available in other colors, including red, purple and black. Most quinoa must be rinsed before cooking, to remove the bitter residue of saponins, a plant-defense that wards off insects. Botanists are now developing saponin-free strains of quinoa, to eliminate this minor annoyance to the enjoyment of quinoa. The abundant protein in quinoa is complete protein, which means that it contains all the essential amino acids our bodies can't make on their own. (Try some before you invest in it...I don't care for it, yet have many pails of it. Probably eat it if I was real hungry (said tongue-in-cheek).) Rice: White rice is refined, with the germ and bran removed. Whole-grain rice is usually brown, but can also be black, purple, red or any of a variety of exotic hues. Around the world, rice thrives in warm, humid climates; almost all of the U.S. rice crop is grown in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. Brown rice is lower in fiber than most other whole grains, but rich in many nutrients. Rice is one of the most easily-digested grains – one reason rice cereal is often recommended as a baby's first solid. This makes rice ideal for those on a restricted diet or who are gluten-intolerant. Rye: Long seen as a weed in more desirable wheat crops, rye eventually gained respect for its ability to grow in areas too wet or cold for other grains. Rye is unusual among grains for the high level of fiber in its endosperm – not just in its bran. Because of this, rye products generally have a lower glycemic index than products made from wheat and most other grains, making them especially healthy for diabetics. Sorghum/Milo: Sorghum, also called milo, thrives where other crops would wither and die; in drought periods, in fact, it becomes partially dormant. Sorghum can be eaten like popcorn, cooked into porridge, ground into flour for baked goods, or even brewed into beer. As a gluten-free grain, sorghum is especially popular among those with celiac disease. Spelt: Spelt is a variety of wheat widely cultivated until the spread of fertilizers and mechanical harvesting left it by the wayside in favor of wheats more compatible with industrialization. Spelt can be used in place of common wheat in most recipes. Spelt is higher in protein than common wheat. There are anecdotal reports that some people sensitive to wheat can tolerate spelt, but no reliable medical studies have addressed that issue. Triticale: Pronounced trit-i-KAY-lee, triticale is a hybrid of durum wheat and rye that's been only been grown commercially in the past several decades. Rye and wheat have long cross-bred in nature, but the resulting offspring were sterile, until a French scientist, in 1937 discovered how to induce fertility. Triticale grows easily without commercial fertilizers and pesticides, making it ideal for organic and sustainable farming. Wheat: Wheat has come to dominate the grains we eat because it contains large amounts of gluten, a stretchy protein that enables bakers to create satisfying risen breads. It's almost impossible to make an acceptable risen loaf without at least some wheat mixed in. Two main varieties of wheat are widely eaten: durum wheat is made into pasta, while bread wheat is used for most other wheat foods. Bread wheat is described as "hard" or "soft" according to its protein content; as "winter" or "spring" according to when it is sown; and as "red" or "white" according to color of the kernels. Hard wheat has more protein, including more gluten, and is used for bread, while soft wheat creates "cake flour" with lower protein. Winter and spring wheat differ largely in their growing areas, with northern areas supporting spring wheat and more southerly climates able to plant winter wheat, which is actually planted in the fall and harvested in the spring. Red wheat has more strong-flavored tannins than milder white wheat; in this case the word "white" does not mean that the grain has been refined. Wild Rice: Wild rice is not technically rice at all, but the seed of an aquatic grass originally grown by indigenous tribes around the Great Lakes. The strong flavor and high price of wild rice mean that it is most often consumed in a blend with other rices or other grains. Wild rice has twice the protein and fiber of brown rice, but less iron and calcium. Shows up on numerous "Rice Gone Wild" videos.