And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  Genesis 1:29

Awhile ago, Heidi, wrote a post about amaranth. I have been meaning to write for some time about some of the other wonderful grains that God has provided for our use. They are equally obscure and interesting.

Kamut: Kamut is an ancient high protein grain-approximately 17% protein, and is a relative of durum wheat. It has never been hybridized. Studies have shown that around 70% of people that are sensitive to wheat are able to use kamut. Kamut flour can be used in any recipe without altering the amount of any of the ingredients, except that slightly more liquid may be needed. Although it is considered a high gluten flour, it has less gluten that wheat. While that is no problem in most baked goods, yeast breads will have slightly less volume.

Unfortunately, I have never seen a co-op, much less a store, that carries kamut flour. So, that leaves us kamut users to grind our own. This is pretty much the case for all of the grains that I will list in this post.

Barley: Barley is one of the cereal grasses, and has a bran similar to rice bran. The bran contains all the vitamins, minerals, and oils. Without refrigeration the bran will turn rancid, so be sure to refrigerate. Pearled barley has part of the bran removed. It is white, and is almost pure starch. Most of the nutrients of pearled barley is removed, so it is advised that you purchase hulled barley at your health food store or through a co-op. Barley also has a low gluten content for those who have to watch out for that.

Some of my favorite barley recipes:

Barley-Vegetable Saute’

2t. butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium yellow or red bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 cups cooked barley (1 C.dry barley to 4 C. water boiled and simmered for about 50 minutes will do the trick)

2 T. chopped fresh or 2t. dried thyme leaves

1/2 t. salt

1package (16oz.) frozen corn, thawed

1 package (10oz.) frozen lima beans, thawed

1. Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over med.-high heat. Cook onion, bell pepper, and garlic in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bell pepper is tender crisp.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot. Serve.

Beef, Barley and Kale

This is ridiculously easy.

In a large stockpot place I pound of ground beef and 1 cup of barley. Add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer on low for about 45-50 minutes. During last 5-10 minutes of cooking place on top of beef and barley, 6 cups of chopped kale or cabbage if you prefer. Cover and let steam for remaining time. Season and stir. Recommended seasonings are, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, or whatever you prefer. My husband adds hot sauce to his. Serve hot.

Millet: Millet is the seed of an annual grass. It is high is amino acids, protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as lysine which makes it a more complete protein. This grain is very alkaline, helping an acidic system to become more alkaline. Few people are allergic to it. I have read that a person could live indefinitely on nothing but millet if they had to. We make millet as a breakfast cereal and I also use it in a stew recipe. It is very versatile and it used to be the staple grain in Asia, before rice took over.  It is a gluten free grain and is also a good bird seed I’m told.

Hot millet

1 Cup cracked millet (millet is a soft grain and can be cracked in your blender)

3 Cups liquid (water, milk or whatever you prefer)

Bring liquid to a boil. Add millet. Boil. Turn down heat. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot with one or more of the following: honey, nuts, fruit, milk, juice, cinnamon etc.

Millet Stew

4.5 Cups broth or water , 1/2 cup celery, chopped

1Cup millet, whole hulled, 1/2 tsp. thyme, dried

1 onion, chopped, 1 tsp. salt

3 medium potatoes, diced, pepper to taste

1 large carrot, diced

Mix all ingredients in 2.5 quart casserole dish.

Bake at 350* F. for 1.25-1.5 hours.

~ I add 1 pound of ground beef or chicken to this recipe to add more flavor and make it a complete meal.

Quinoa: (pronounced “keen-wah”) Quinoa is a grain-like plant that was used by the Incas, and is about 16.2% protein. It is also high in lysine, making it a more complete(usable) protein on its own. It is also high in essential fatty acids-13.5%, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Also gluten free.

While this is all very marvelous and fascinating, the one thing I can tell you for sure is that I do not like it. It has a very strange taste. I have tried to dress it up in all sorts of ways, but is still tastes like quinoa, ugh. I was glad that I had only ordered a 5 pound bag from the co-op!

I learned a lot of useful cooking information from a cookbook I ordered a few months ago called “Wow, this is allergy free”. Even though some of the recipes are a little strange, I found it to be very informative and a great help. Besides the info on the variety of grains, there are also a lot of ideas for substituting ingredients, which I found helpful. My oldest son is allergic to eggs, so I never use them in baking. I was given several other options in this book, and I have had great success in baking with them.