Would you like to add more whole grains to your diet? Whole grains are a healthy source of fiber which few Americans get enough of in their diet. They’re also an excellent source of B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, and magnesium. If the last whole grain meal you had was a bowl of oatmeal, you’re missing out on a world of tasty and healthy whole grain products including bulgur, quinoa, barley, amaranth, and more. The problem for some people is they feel that cooking whole grains takes too much time. This needn’t be the case. You can cook grains quickly using these simple techniques.

Put it in a slow cooker.

This is probably the simplest way to cook grains. Place the grain in the crockpot along with the appropriate amount of water or bouillon and leave it overnight on the low setting. When you awaken in the morning, you’ll have a hot and healthy whole grain breakfast. You can also use the slow cooker to prepare cook grains while you’re at the office. When you return home, you’ll be ready to serve your whole grain for dinner. Whole grains usually require between six to eight hours on the crockpot low setting to be fully cooked.

Microwave

You can also make the job of cooking whole grains easier by using the microwave. This doesn’t work well for all whole grains, but is effective for brown rice and bulgur. Place the whole grain in a microwave safe dish along with the appropriate amount of liquid and microwave at one minute intervals, stopping to stir at the end of each minute until the grain is fully cooked. Allow the cooked grain to stand fifteen minutes before serving. Some grains such as barley require longer cooking times and won’t work well when cooked in a microwave.

Pre-soak

One way to shorten the preparation time when you cook grains is to pre-soak them in a bowl of warm water. This will soften the grain and shorten the preparation time considerably. Another added benefit is that soaking increases the digestibility of the grains. Unsoaked whole grains also contain phytic acid which can prevent the absorption of certain nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. If whole grains are soaked in an acidic solution such as lemon juice for seven to eight hours, it negates the effects of the phytic acid resulting in better nutrient absorption.

Prepare larger quantities and freeze

Instead of cooking whole grains in small amounts, cook large batches and freeze until you’re ready to use them. When you want to serve them, simply add a small amount of water and reheat them.

Don’t let the thought of cooking whole grains keep you from getting the wonderful health benefits they offer. Preparing these healthy foods doesn’t have to be a time consuming process.

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