A Grain of Wheat

Two years ago, my aunt invited me to a bread seminar. A local group of women showed a video lecture by the BreadBeckers and baked various breads for the guests to try. The video taught me a lot about grain, whole wheat flour, and white flour.  (You can get a free cd from the BreadBeckers’ website!) This lecture launched me into the world of buying grain, grinding my own grain to make flour, and cooking with whole grains.

Before I go anywhere near the buying, grinding, and cooking, you need to have a basic understanding of why I spend this much time and energy on grain.

A wheat kernel – sometimes called a grain of wheat or a wheat berry – is a seed. Each kernel has three parts: the endosperm, the bran, and the germ.

File:Wheat-kernel nutrition.svg
Illustration by: Berghoff W, 1998. Längsschnitt durch ein Getreidekorn. aid infodienst Verbraucherschutz Ernährung, Bonn. Français : Un grain de blé et sa valeur nutritionelle.

The bran is the outer layer of the wheat- the “shell” that protects the valuable germ. The bran is very high in fiber. The germ is the “heart” of the kernel. Protein, vitamin E,  fiber, folate, iron, and unsaturated oils are present in the germ.  According to Livestrong.com, “A 1/4 cup of wheat germ provides 7g of protein, 3g of unsaturated fat, 15g of carbohydrates and 4g of fiber. This small serving also provides 2mg of iron, 69mg of magnesium, 256mg of potassium, 242mg of phosphorous, 4mg of zinc, 4mg of manganese and 23mcg of selenium.” The endosperm of grain makes up about 80% of the kernel. It is the least nutrient-dense.

Wheat is easy to grow, easy to harvest, and easy to cook. It can be ground into flour or cooked whole  in a soup or stew. It is a staple in most diets.  Whole grains are not digested quickly by the human body; this keeps blood sugar levels from rising and dropping rapidly.  Grain is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber.

Wheat kernels are just a small part of God’s amazing creation, but they are just as elaborate as galaxies. Once again, I encourage you to do your own research. I research, write about the facts, and tell why I decided the way I did. You need to do the same.

I will post about flours soon!

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