The proper term, in reference to grains, is cereal grains. The word “cereal” comes from

Ceres, a pre-Roman goddess of agriculture. Cereal includes any plant from the grass

family that produces an edible seed.

Cereals are inexpensive, have an available source of protein and the highest concentration

of carbohydrates compared with any other food.



Barley dates back to the Stone Ages. It is used in recipes such as bread, cereal, and soups.

Most barley in the western world is now used for two reasons, for making beer and

whiskey, and for animal fodder.

Bulgur Wheat

Originating from the Middle East, this is a wheat kernel, which has been steamed, dried

and crushed.


A staple in North Africa. Couscous is derived from semolina. Can be cooked and added

to milk to make porridge, fruits and honey can be added to make a dessert or you can mix

a dressing into it and eat it like a salad.


This is roasted buckwheat grains.


Millet is a staple grain for over a 1/3 of the world’s population, particularly in Asia and

Africa. The United States uses millet almost exclusively for fodder and birdseed. Millet is

rich in protein with a bland flavor, so it takes well to cooking with other foods and spices.

You prepare millet like rice, in boiling water, to make into a hot cereal or some sort of

pilaf. Ground millet is used in puddings, breads and cakes. You can find millet in natural

food stores, as well as Asian markets.


In the 1700s, England would feed oats to their horses, yet the Scottish used to eat it every


Polenta /Cornmeal

Dried corn kernels that have been ground to a powder.


A staple to the Incas. Contains the most protein of any grain. It also contains eight

essential amino acids. Quinoa is also high in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates.

You need to cook Quinoa like rice, and it has been compared in flavor to couscous. Can

be found in natural food stores.


Rice has been cultivated throughout Asia since at least 8000 BC. There are over 7000

varieties. Rice contains iron, calcium and B-complex vitamins.


An Italian rice which is cooked as rice and can be served with a variety of meats and

vegetables. Italian Arborio rice is usually used in the preparation of risotto.


Rye contains less gluten that any other flour, therefore, all rye breads tend to be dense.

There are a variety of different ryes, all of which are found at natural food stores:

medium, light, dark and pumpernickel.


The third largest grain in the entire world, the US chiefly uses it as fodder. The only thing

the US uses sorghum for, when speaking of human consumption, is sorghum molasses,

which is used to sweeten baked goods.


A cereal grain native to southern Europe, where it has been used for thousands of years. It

has a nutty flavor, and can be used in lieu of wheat flour in recipes if a person is gluten

intolerant. This grain can also be found in natural food stores.


A cereal grain native to Ethiopia, but is currently being harvested in Idaho. This grain has

a nutty flavor, is high in protein, carbohydrates, calcium and iron. It can be found in

natural food stores.


Triticale is a hybrid of wheat and rye. It has more protein and less gluten than wheat. It

comes in berries, flakes and flour. You can find this in natural food stores. Triticale is

usually used to make casseroles, hot cereals and pilafs. Due to the low gluten content,

breads made from this grain make loaves that are very heavy; therefore using ½ wheat

flour helps add some air.


Wheat has been cultivated for over 6000 years. It is the world’s largest cereal crop with

more than 30,000 varieties.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is not really rice at all. It’s a long grain marsh grass cultivated throughout the

United States but originated near the Great Lakes region. Wild rice is also known as

Indian rice.

How To Store

All grains should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.


Basil, cardamom, cayenne, chervil, chili powder, chives, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder,

fennel, ginger, marjoram, paprika, parsley, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, and turmeric.

Nutritional Values

High in carbohydrates and fiber, low in protein.

Folklore / Alternative Healing

Pearl barley used to be combined with water and lemon and fed to invalids to help restore

their strength.


Barley Bread

24 Servings

  • 4 1/2-teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2-cups warm water
  • 2-tablespoons honey
  • 2-cups barley flour
  • 2-cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2-cups white unbleached flour
  • 2-tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-teaspoons salt
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and place in large mixing bowl. Stir in honey and leave till yeast becomes foamy. Combine the three flours and add half to the yeast. Beat with a wooden spoon for 10 minutes. The consistency should be of thick mud. Cover and set aside to rise for 1 hour, till the dough has doubled.
  2. Punch dough down and carefully fold in olive oil, salt and 1/2 c remaining flour.
  3. Gradually fold in more flour till dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes. Add more flour as necessary. Place dough in a lightly oiled mixing bowl. Cover and leave to double.
  5. Punch dough down again and shape into 2 domed round loaves. Cut a cross in the center.
  6. Place on an oiled baking sheet, cover and let rise till doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.
  7. Bake at 350F for 50 minutes.

Highland Oatcakes

12 Servings

  • 8-ounces oatmeal
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-ounce lard, or drippings
  • 3-tablespoons hot (or more) water
  1. Sift salt and oatmeal in a roomy bowl. Put on the griddle or a heavy frying pan to heat.
  2. Bring the water to the boil with the fat. Pour into a well in the oatmeal. Work into a stiff dough and cut in half. Roll out on a floured board to the size of a dinner plate and about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into quarters or fourths.
  3. Test the griddle’s heat by holding your hand over it. Lay on one of the quartered rounds.
  4. When the oatcakes are ready, the surface stops steaming and begins to look dry and white. Turn them and do the other side. Dry off the oatcakes and lightly brown the edges in a hot oven or under the grill – they should curl up to the fire to prove that you have
  5. made your own.

Orange-Currant Couscous

4 Servings

  • 1-cup low-fat reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3-cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1-orange peel, grated
  • 2-tablespoons orange juice
  • 2-teaspoons lemon juice
  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in couscous, currants and orange peel. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit 5 minutes. Stir in orange and lemon juice and serve.



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