Grains can be a nutritious – and beneficial – aspect of an everyday diet, containing lots of vitamins and minerals that help to keep us happy and healthy. One of the biggest benefits of grains is their potential to reduce the risk of chronic illness, and they’re also known for their powerful anti-inflammatory properties that could minimise the risk of some diseases, but it’s important to know how to use grains effectively in the kitchen.
Knowing how to cook grains is vital, not only because proper cooking helps to make grains taste great, but also because the cooking process improves the digestibility of the nutrients, really helping to maximise nutrient intake and ensuring we’re getting the most from our food. Different grains take different amounts of time to cook sufficiently, with bulgur and quinoa two of the quickest cooking grains, taking between 8 - 10 minutes. Wild rice, rye, and barley take a little longer; around one hour.
However, it is possible to speed the process up a little by soaking the grains before cooking. This allows the grains to absorb water and become softer, before being heated and cooked. This not only shortens the cooking time of some grains, but studies have found that soaked grains actually look better, too!
You don’t need to be a good cook to enjoy the benefits of grains, which include weight management, reduced risk of diabetes, and improved digestive health. In fact, it’s possible to enjoy ‘instant grains’ by including whole grain cereals and breads into your daily diet, along with grain-based snack bars. Recently, many manufacturers have also started to introduce ‘quick cook’ grains which take just minutes. These are ideal for those who are always on the go, and are looking for a speedy and convenient diet.