Read full article by Kae Lani @ MSN Lifestyle Photo Credit: Getty Images / fcafotodigital
Add more grains to your diet
Grains are a big part of our diet. In fact, grains used to be the foundation of the USDA Food Pyramid before it was replaced by the MyPlate system.
For many, the diversity of grains doesn’t extend past cereals, oats, rice, and wheat flour. But there are so many other kinds of grains, some of which predate our modern grains – and they’re packed with nutrients and complex flavors. From baking to cooking, here are 10 ancient grains you should try in your kitchen.
This naturally gluten-free grain has been cultivated for around 8,000 years. Once the staple food of the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs, amaranth is rich in proteins that other grains lack, all nine essential amino acids, fiber, antioxidants and other micronutrients.
It’s earthy and nutty in flavor, and though it can be enjoyed like a cereal, it can also be ground down to make a flour that works well in pancakes and breads.
Spelt, an ancient variety of wheat, works incredibly well for baking anything from breads and muffins, to cookies and other desserts. It adds a bit of sweet nuttiness to anything it’s added to, is an excellent source of fiber, has more protein than conventional wheat, and it’s more water-soluble, meaning it’s easier to digest.
When it comes to experimenting with ancient grains, try baking with spelt first as it can fully replace all-purpose flour in most recipes.
If you’re on a gluten-free diet, millet is an excellent replacement grain in baking. It adds a sweet corn flavor and texture to whatever it’s baked in. And because millet is a seed, it can be ground into a flour or prepared like a whole grain. When cooked like a whole grain, it comes out fluffy and not as chewy as other grains like farro or quinoa.
Like many ancient grains, sorghum can be used for baking or cooking, but unlike many of these grains, sorghum can be turned into a syrup. Sorghum syrup is sometimes confused with molasses, but they differ in origin, taste, texture and processing techniques. Sorghum syrup is also thinner and has a slightly more sour taste than molasses, which makes it more appropriate for salad dressings and sauces.