- It's usually not necessary to rinse packaged whole grains before cooking. If you've purchased the grains from a bin and they seem dusty, give them a quick rinse.
- The amount of water each batch of grains absorbs varies somewhat so the easiest way to cook whole grains is in lots of boiling water like pasta. When the grain is done, it will be one color throughout when cut in half crosswise.
- Cooked whole grains often remain a little chewy.
- Because cooking time and water absorption are unpredictable, it's most efficient to cook grains separately, then combine the cooked grains with other foods such as beans or vegetables.
- Some grains, especially wheat berries and related grains like kamut and spelt, don't cook properly in salted liquid; the salt tends to harden the bran layer and the grains don't absorb water evenly. For this reason, it's best to add salt towards the end of cooking.
- Toasting grains is a nice way to intensify their flavor. To toast grains, scatter them in a warm, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally. Continue cooking until the grains emit a "toasty" aroma and/or darken slightly. Warning: when you toast grains, the bran layer develops little cracks. As a result, the grains absorb liquid more quickly but tend to burst open.
- Cooked grains freeze beautifully. Prepare extra and freeze leftovers, well drained, in sealed containers in 1- or 2-cup amounts. Defrost them in a microwave or drop the frozen grains directly into soups or stews.
Tips for Cooking Whole Grains
Prepare a healthy and hearty dish of whole grains tonight