Grains are endlessly adaptable to seasons and cultures, and winter is the perfect time to focus on experimenting with grains as fresh produce availability isn't as diverse this time of year. In New York alone, we have many local grains that can be swapped for your standard pasta and rice in dishes, such as freekeh and farro. The world of grains is worth knowing, especially as they are a good source of protein, so time to get cooking!
The Local Grains Short List:
• Buckwheat: Flour is best for pancakes, crepes, biscuits and soba noodles. Whole groats can be sprouted or toasted to make “kasha.”
• Cornmeal & Polenta: Made with flint, or “Indian” corn, and dent corn.
• Einkorn: An “ancient grain,” high in protein content and minerals. Best for cooking whole and using flour for pancakes and crackers.
• Emmer (Farro): An “ancient grain,” best as a cooked grain and for pasta and flat breads.
• Freekeh: Wheat that is harvested green and roasted. Toasted, mildly sweet flavor. High in protein, minerals and fiber, very low in gluten. Best in soups and stews.
• Rye: Low gluten, bold, assertive flavor. Blended with wheat for bread. Grains can be cooked whole or as cracked rye.
• Spelt: An “ancient grain,” low gluten, high protein content. Flour used for bread, pasta, crackers.
*Short List © GrowNYC.
If your decision for where to begin is a little grainy (tee hee hee), we've included a few recipes below to launch your grain exploration from starters to desserts!