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Top 10 Secrets to Cooking the Best Grains

July 29, 2011

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Choosing whole grains, like brown rice, quinoa, or oatmeal, can benefit your heart, your blood sugar levels, and your waistline. Here are a few tips from Joshua Rosenthal's book, Integrative Nutrition, to help you get the most out of your grains.

1. Use organic, unrefined whole grains. Quality matters.
2. Store your grains in an airtight container.

Before cooking:

3. Gently wash your grains in cold water. This reawakens dormant energy.
4. Soak them anywhere from 1 to 12 hours. This will eliminate phytic acid and help with digestion.
5. Dry-toast grains in a skillet over medium heat until they smell nutty. This enhances their natural flavor, allows them to cook more evenly and decreases bitterness.

During cooking:

6. Use a pinch of sea salt or add pieces of sea vegetables. This adds flavor and nutritional value.
7. Add a splash of olive oil to help prevent grains from sticking together.
8. Do not stir, as this makes them mushy and lets cooking water evaporate too quickly.
9. When grains hit boiling point, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for the suggested time.

After cooking:

10. Mix grains in the pot, allowing them to gently steam. Cover for 10 minutes.

The 11th secret: Your energy as a cook is just as important as the quality of the ingredients that you are using. Keep your energy positive and joyful around food. What you put into the food will come back when you eat it.