Grain – benefits and usage

Grain belongs to the grass family and is an essential part of the human diet. This is mainly because it has a high nutritional value and coupled with very good storage properties. Wheat, rice, millet, rye, oats, corn and barley play a particularly important role here. Nowadays grains are an integral part of our diet, many people eat it every day. Bread, pasta and other baked goods are just a part of the foods that are made from grain. It is also used as animal feed (mainly barley, oats, corn and triticale) and as a raw material for the production of luxury foods and technical products.



History of the grain

About 10,000 years ago, various varieties were cultivated in the Middle East. The first varieties were einkorn, wild emmer and barley. People started growing of cereals in Central and Western Europe about 7000 years ago. Each high culture has adapted depending on the region in terms of cultivation, for example the rice culture in Asia, the corn culture in America and the wheat culture of the Romans.


Composition of the kernel and its gluten

The kernel consists for the most part of an endosperm, which consists of about 70% starch and 10% protein. The high-fat seedling, from which new grain is produced, accounts for only about 3% of the whole grain. In addition to unsaturated fatty acids, it also contains vitamins, minerals, protein and enzymes. The so-called aleurone layer is located directly around the endosperm, followed by the seed coat and outside the pericarp. These layers are also called bran. It contains vitamins, enzymes, fibers and minerals.

The protein contained in some type of grain, such as wheat, spelled, rye or barley, is called glue or gluten. There are also varieties without gluten, such as millet, corn or rice. Grain types such as quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat are gluten-free and are assigned to the pseudo-grain. Pseudo-grain comes from different types of dicotyledonous plants. These are a great alternative for people who suffer from celiac disease and do not tolerate gluten-containing grains well. In addition, it is very healthy and versatile.


Grain: the harvest – winter and summer grains

When the grain is ripe, it is separated from the plants by threshing. The husk of the kernel is separated very often for traditional flours by grinding and used as bran. An exception is the wholemeal flour, in which (as the name implies) the full grain kernel is used.

There is a distinction between winter and summer grains. The winter grain can be sown already from September and harvested from July the following year. The yields far exceed those of the summer grains, which is why winter grains are more widespread. This is partly due to the longer vegetation period and the better use of winter moisture and spring warmth. Summer grains are generally sown from March and harvested after about half a year.


Outlook

You will soon find some healthy recipes with different grains here in our blog. We`ll provide recipes for meals with millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and other grains. Recipes for desserts and baking bread from rye, spelled or special flour – obtained from wheat in original form, which is well digestible and has health promoting properties – will be also available. You`ll have the opportunity to get more information about the old type of wheat of the Romans and how a special treatment preserves the „old“ wheat as a healthy grain.

Am 28. Februar 2018 in: diet, grain von Sarah Appel
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