Have you ever wondered why eating whole grains is important? Or what the difference is between whole grains and refined grains? Or how to make brown rice that doesn’t taste bland? Then keep reading!
Whole grains are different from refined grains or enriched grains because whole grains have not had the bran or germ removed through the milling process. This is important because whole grains still contain the essential enzymes, fiber, and b vitamins. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and millet.
Refined grains are grains that have been milled, stripping them of their bran and germ, which results in a loss of nutrients. Refined grains have a softer texture and extended shelf life, which is why they are used in packaged and processed foods.
Sometimes manufacturers will add some of the b vitamins lost during processing back into the grain, resulting in enriched grains. Some enriched grains are also fortified with nutrients that are not naturally present in that food, such as folic acid or iron. However, there is no way to replace the fiber that is lost during processing. Since fiber is what helps us to feel full, eating whole grains will help you to feel more satisfied and will give you sustained energy.
I grew up eating white rice so when I first started eating brown rice it was a noticeable change. It took me years to get used to the difference in taste and texture. I also noticed that eating brown rice sometimes gave me a stomach ache. Then I learned an important trick: soak the rice! Before cooking, I soak my brown rice for a few hours or overnight. When it is cooked, it will yield rice with a softer texture, better taste, and is far easier on the digestive system. To keep brown rice from tasting bland, I like to cook it in vegetable broth and add other spices as it cooks.
Basic Brown Rice
- 1 cup brown rice
- Water for soaking
- 2 cups of vegetable broth (or water)
- seasonings to taste
- Soak rice in water for a few hours or overnight. Drain.
- Add rice to a medium pot with a tight-fitting lid.
- Add 2 cups of vegetable broth (or water).
- Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Check the rice. If the rice is slightly chewy, remove the lid and cook until the rest of the water is evaporated.
- If the rice is still hard, replace lid and continue to cook for about 15 minutes, until rice is chewy.
- When rice is ready, remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.
What are your favorite tricks for enjoying brown rice or other whole grains?