How to Cook Grains to Reduce Chemicals and Maximize Nutrition

How to Cook Grains to Reduce Chemicals and Maximize Nutrition

How to Cook Grains to Reduce Chemicals and Maximize Nutrition

One of the reasons grains have been getting a bad rap is due to they contain phytic acid, saponins, and arsenic.

Phytic acid is a natural substance found in all plant seeds, nuts, legumes and grains.[1] Studies showed phytic acid impairs the absorption of iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium, and may promote mineral deficiencies.[2, 3]

Saponins are found in amaranth, oats and quinoa. If you have a leaky gut or irritable bowel syndrome, where your intestines are already inflamed or irritated, saponins could aggravate the irritability or inflammation of the gut.

Arsenic is a heavy metal and is listed in Group 1 Carcinogenic to humans. [11] Arsenic is found in rice. An Australian study showed that arborio and sushi rice contain the highest mean values of total arsenic [12]. Another study showed that basmati and red rice have low levels of total arsenic [13].

Phytic acid, saponins, and arsenic are decreased by 98% after soaking, germination (or sprouting) and fermentation.[4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

In addition to the steps below for each specific grain, I ferment and sprout the grains before cooking to reduce the phytic acid, saponins and arsenic content in grains.

  1. Rinse well under running water to remove dust.
  2. To ferment the grains: Place the grains in a bowl and cover with filtered water by a couple inches. Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon of vitamin C or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for 8 – 12 hours, then drain and rinse until the water is clear.
  3. To sprout the grains: Place the grains in a 1L jar. Cover the jar with a sprouting screen or a double layer of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band. Turn the jar upside down and at an angle so that excess water can drain and air can circulate. Place the jar in a bowl to catch the water and leave it in the pantry. Rinse and drain twice a day. The grains should sprout in 1 to 5 days depends on the weather. Once you can see the little tails, they are ready for cooking.

Amaranth

  • Use 1 part amaranth to 2 parts liquid.
  • Put in a saucepan with the liquid and a little salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 15–20 minutes. Skim the foam off. Remove from the heat but leave the pan covered for another 10–15 minutes to let the seeds swell. Fluff up with a fork.

Barley

  • Use 1 part barley to 2½ parts liquid.
  • Put in a saucepan with the liquid and a little salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat. Skim the foam off. Cook pearl barley for 30–45 minutes; pot barley for at least 75 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid.

Buckwheat

  • Use 1 part buckwheat to 1½–2 parts liquid.
  • Put in a saucepan with the liquid and a little salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 10–15 minutes. Skim the foam off. Watch carefully because the groats soak up liquid and can easily turn to mush. Once tender but still chewy, drain off any excess liquid.

Farro

  • Put the grains and a little salt in a saucepan with plenty of water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 10–50 minutes, depending on the type and how tender you want it. Skim the foam off. Check the texture every 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain off any excess liquid.

Freekeh

  • Swish the grains in a large bowl of water, discarding any chaff that floats to the top. Change the water several times, then drain in a strainer.
  • Follow step 2 and step 3 above before cooking.
  • Use 1 part freekeh to 2 parts liquid. Put the grains and a little salt in a saucepan with the liquid. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat. Skim the foam off. Cracked grains need 25 minutes; whole grains require 45 minutes. Once tender but still chewy, drain off any excess liquid.

Khorasan

  • Use 1 part khorasan to 3 parts liquid.
  • Put the grains and a little salt in a saucepan with the liquid. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat. Skim the foam off. Cook soaked grains for 30–40 minutes; unsoaked grains for about 1 hour. Once tender but still chewy, drain off any excess liquid.

Millet

  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the millet and a little salt. Skim the foam off. For fluffy grains, simmer briskly for 10 minutes, then drain. Cook for longer for a porridge-like texture.

Oats

  • Rolled Oats: Use 1 part rolled oats to 6 parts water. Dry-fry for a few minutes to bring out the nutty flavor. Pour in the water and a little salt. Stir over low–medium heat until boiling. Skim the foam off. Reduce the heat to low, then stir for 5 minutes, until thick and creamy.
  • Steel cut Oats: Rinse in several changes of water to remove dust. Soak for 8 hours, then drain. Put in a saucepan with a little salt and plenty of water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45–75 minutes. Skim the foam off.

Quinoa

  • Use 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid.
  • Put in a saucepan with the liquid and a little salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Skim the foam off. Remove from the heat but leave the pan covered for another 7 minutes to let the seeds swell. The band around the edge will uncurl like a spiral. Drain off any excess liquid through a fine-meshed strainer. Fluff up with a fork.

Spelt

  • Put the grains and a little salt in a saucepan with plenty of water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 10–50 minutes, depending on the type of grain and how chewy or tender you want it. Check the texture every 10 minutes. Skim the foam off. Once cooked, drain off any excess liquid.

Whole-grain Rice (Brown Rice, Black Rice, Red Rice, Wild Rice)

  • Use 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid. Reduce or increase this if you prefer a firmer or softer rice.
  • Put the rice, liquid, and a little salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir once. Skim the foam off. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 30–45 minutes, or until all the liquid has evaporated. Let stand off the heat for 5 minutes, then fluff up with a fork.
  • Depending on the recipe, rice may be lightly fried before adding liquid.

References

  1. http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/phytic-acid-101#section5
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17693180
  3. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2621.2002.00618.x/epdf?referrer_access_token=dvMx7KSk2UKFVnJcixH15FcP6X_2SPADgqOuugN7stPklO_rHE6K6i63kaZyHCeUPXrtFHHy6F3C2qqhc3X_H_WHEwR0wUmsyBYmoWAG1CZVPIzUMFGawnxriRxMwaSp1-yMCxP3JphUz5rciuLV2l__9pYbR436uJdGLy547fUwnbQpvZmm79HcJ04BZwJfJ1RtNjA-VQ6nMU6W_bjTWLovhcp5Dtuk6JfVNAqRGtg%3D
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10627836
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19774556
  6. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1995.tb05626.x/epdf?referrer_access_token=Y_-k6SYH2IFfJh4dsgjzDIta6bR2k8jH0KrdpFOxC676BHrPsOuFTFSzCmts9ymAPM3kNVa0ex9l_F85wvH4WFshcyPJxKfuqSUW645LwKGYEJTKYblCkKcz-0P1WeTZ2EyR3IlqZ6zp4nK7vcHeXoc4hEjb410dWM2loLZRgeIiCr99ljsE1o6LkNMMBxdPRveK5eUe3PYEs18tbBQj-s8qyh5m1uIqlMmnr-PxQls%3D
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22938099
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11453753
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11368651
  10. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1993.tb04286.x/epdf?referrer_access_token=2iMeKEEAqZWpe-6tK-kqVIta6bR2k8jH0KrdpFOxC65VL8Ys_5z-s-wHc4BtxID3KrR2DC4hDq-pk2zxpy7eHsMv6CwLaUGYpkMAj53lRwM7tcEz2uKQbW6ZWCh1RMO0n6f0mwL-P-AosauaDIca5SqFRUoTpX0cFJV7pgQctMa9GFv89p_L1M0J3_CUOTbbat28ksvTB4IVf7hi-xiSNm9kL3ETHy2u79T6gDscF_4%3D
  11. http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/latest_classif.php
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25577696
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25393691

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