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Grain Food Facts

Grain Food Facts

Did You Know...

Pretzels are the fastest growing snack food in the United States. Most products are almost fat-free.

Popcorn, in its natural state, is a whole grain food.

The Aztecs were the first to pop corn and use it as a decoration.

Movie theaters that were offering popcorn popped in both coconut oil and canola dropped the coconut oil popcorn completely after sales dropped below 10 percent of all sales.

Canola oil is now used in almost all movie theaters, meaning we now get oil that is high in monounsaturated fat (better) instead of saturated fat (bad).

  • Use herbs to replace salt on popcorn. Garlic powder, chili powder, basil and oregano work well.
  • There is no nutritional difference between regular popcorn and Gourmet Popcorn. There is only a variation in size.
  • Two quarts of plain popcorn equals the calories in 15 potato chips.
  • Corn used for popcorn needs to contain enough moisture to puff up the starches when it is heated. The hull is thick enough to contain steam, yet is easily able to explode.
  • Air poppers make the popcorn pop into larger blossoms, but they are usually tougher and less crisp.
  • Jasmine rice has an aroma and flavor similar to popcorn or roasted nuts. Makes a great side dish.
  • Buttered flavored popcorn may be real butter, margarine, butter-flavored oil or a soy-based artificial concoction. Ask the theater, they may know!
  • To restore moisture to those unpopped kernels, fill a one-quart jar three quarters full of unpopped kernels, add one tablespoon of water, cover the jar and shake for two to three minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Store the container in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for two to three days before popping. See also: Popcorn: A Whole Grain Snack External Link.
  • Wheat berries (cracked wheat) are made from toasted grain keeping the bran and germ intact. It is usually prepared by grinding it into coarse, medium, or fine granulations for faster cooking. Cracked wheat can replace rice in most recipes but it is a little crunchier.
  • To make an exceptional dessert from leftover rice, try folding stiffly beaten whipped cream, and then add fresh fruit.
  • Many hot cereal products are degerminated, reducing their nutritional quality to make them more palatable. These include Cream of Wheat and Farina.
  • Some cereals have changed their names so that you will not see the sugar. Super Sugar Crisp by Post is now Super Golden Crisp. Sugar Frosted Flakes by Kellogg's is now simply Frosted Flakes.
  • A peanut butter sandwich without jelly will last for two to three days without refrigeration.
  • One of the best cereals on the market is Cheerios. It has an excellent nutrient content and is low in sugar.
  • If you run out of chopped nuts, try using coarse bran. You will hardly notice the difference. If you run out of coarse bran, use chopped nuts.
  • To shell nuts more easily, store them in the freezer.
  • Brown rice is only available in small boxes because the bran portion is higher in fat which may cause the rice to go rancid if not used in a short period of time.
  • Corn chips in all colors have the same amount of fat and calories, unless they are labeled fat-free or baked.
  • Blue corn chips are made from blue corn instead of yellow corn.
  • Remember one-half cup of rice is only equivalent to two to three heaping tablespoons.
  • Twice as much of our protein was coming from grains and cereals in the early 1900's.
  • Natural peanut butter will remain fresh longer if you store the bottle or jar upside down in the refrigerator.
  • Enriched rice has a few of the vitamins that were lost in the milling process added back. As the rice is washed and cooked it will be lost again, for the most part.
  • Six tortillas plus one-quarter cup of beans equals 14 grams of top quality protein, contains good fiber and is high in vitamins and minerals. Corn tortillas have less fat than flour ones.
  • 1-1/2 cup beans plus 4 cups of rice equals the protein in a 19 ounce steak.
  • One-half cup of peanut butter plus 100 percent whole wheat bread, made with 3 cups of whole wheat flour and one-quarter cup of skimmed milk equals the protein of a 16 ounce steak.
  • Wheat flour is not as good as whole wheat flour, and that is not as good as 100 percent whole wheat flour or whole grain flour.
  • When we process bread, we throw away 86 percent of the niacin, 73 percent of the pyridoxine, 50 percent of the pantothenic acid, 42 percent of the riboflavin, 33 percent of the thiamin and 20 percent of the protein.
  • Whole wheat flour is more difficult to digest than white flour. It may also cause gas and intestinal upsets in susceptible persons.
  • A good test for the nutritive quality of grains: Pour a quantity of the grain into a pot of water. If the majority of the grain sinks to the bottom, they still contain most of their nutrients.
  • The higher the percentage of sugar in cereals the less room for nutrients. Some cereals can have as much as 56 percent sugar.
  • Spaghetti products that are advertised as light are lower in calories due to their ability to absorb more water.
  • Nuts, beans, whole grain, corn and peanut butter should be thrown out if there is the slightest sign of mold or unusual odor. They may contain dangerous aflatoxins (aflatoxins are a group of structurally related toxic compounds produced by certain strains of fungi. Under favorable conditions of temperature and humidity, these fungi grow on certain foods and feeds, resulting in the production of aflatoxins. The most pronounced contamination has been encountered in tree nuts, peanuts, and other oilseeds, including corn and cottonseed).
  • Triticale is a man-made hybrid grain. It is a cross between rye and wheat and has a higher protein biologic value than even soy beans which contains all the essential amino acids.
  • If you eat pasta without a protein dish you may feel sluggish one to two hours later. This is related to a blood sugar level change in some individuals.
  • Oriental noodle soups and many of your popular soups usually contain MSG.
  • Oats have the highest fat content of any grain.
  • Corn is one of the least nutritionally complete grains.
  • Long grain rice contains more protein, but has fewer minerals than most standard rice.
  • Converted rice is actually parboiled rice; rice which has been soaked, steamed and dried in such a way as to make it fluffier instead of mushier.
  • Granola bars, when they first arrived on the scene, contained 50 to 60 percent sweeteners and fat. The present bar averages 70 to 80 percent sweeteners and fat and only have a slight edge over a candy bar.
  • Eating whole black poppy seeds may cause you to have a positive urine test for drugs. Poppy seeds are a relative of morphine and codeine.
  • Natural raw sunflower seeds produce a similar action on the body as smoking a cigarette. It causes the body to produce adrenalin, which will go to the brain, resulting in a pleasant feeling. The seeds must, however, be raw, not toasted.
  • Millet is one of the highest nutritional quality grains.
  • Amaranth, originally an Aztec grain unlike other grains, is not deficient in the amino acid lysine. When this grain is eaten with rice, wheat or barely it can provide a complete protein containing all amino acids.
  • There are 70,000 seeds in one pound of amaranth.
  • Amaranth can be popped like popcorn.
  • The majority of barely grown in the United States is used to produce alcoholic beverages. The malt is made by soaking whole barley seeds until they convert to sugar.
  • Buckwheat is not related to the wheat or grain family, but is actually a fruit and a relative of rhubarb.
  • Minute and instant rice have the lowest nutritional content of any rice.
  • Never rinse packaged domestic rice before cooking. It is not necessary and may wash away some of the nutrients that were added as an enrichment. The cooking removes enough anyway.
  • Pasta products can be considered a low fat food; home made is best.
  • Avoid any pasta product that lists disodium phosphate on the label. It is a chemical softening agent that helps the pasta cook faster.
  • Serotonin, a chemical produced by the body that helps you relax, can be increased by a complex carbohydrate (pasta) meal.
  • Whole wheat flour should be used within two months of purchase to avoid rancidity. Refrigeration, however, will delay the rancidity for up to four months.
  • Pasta products are easily digested due to their low fiber content. This makes them an ideal food for young children, infants and the elderly.
  • Most pasta has a protein content of approximately 12 percent, which is equal to 3.4 grams per a three-quarter cup serving.
  • Triticale is made from wheat and rye bread and is more nutritious than wheat. One of the highest nutrient flours. Highly recommended.
  • Be aware that your favorite brand of grain cereal may contain so many additives that it may not be as healthy a product as you are made to believe.
  • The best quality pasta is made from amber durum wheat which comes from Russia.
  • Ninety percent of all durum wheat grown in the U.S. is grown in Northeastern North Dakota. This area is known as the durum triangle.
  • When durum wheat is cooked it is always tender and does not become mushy or pasty.
  • If you use durum wheat pasta it is not necessary to rinse it before using.
  • To remove the burnt taste from rice, try placing a piece of very fresh white bread on top of the rice, then cover the pot. It should only take a few minutes for the burnt taste to disappear.
  • Never add salt to rice until fully cooked; it will toughen the rice.
  • When making lasagna, use a small amount of olive oil in the water to prevent the sections from saing together.
  • To keep rice white while cooking, add a few drops of lemon juice to the water.
  • A few minutes before your rice is done, place a double paper towel just under the lid and finish cooking. The rice will come out more fluffy and dry.
  • To obtain the right amount of water to cook rice without measuring, place a quantity of rice in a pot, shake the pot to smooth out and settle the rice, then place your index finger lightly on top of the rice (do not make a dent), add water until your first knuckle is covered (about 1 inch above the surface of the rice).
  • Arkansas is the largest rice producer in the United States.
  • One cup uncooked pasta equals two cups cooked pasta.
  • Pasta made from durum flour and whole eggs is naturally a golden-yellow color. When spinach is added, you will get green. Blend tomato paste into the dough and you will come out with a salmon colored pasta.
  • Pasta should be cooked firm and slightly chewy. Excess cooking decreases the nutrient content.
  • Pasta will not get say if you place it in a warm colander then into a warm dish. The cold colander causes the starch to get say.
  • There are over 300 types of pasta.
  • When cooking pasta, cover the pot after you place the pasta into the boiling water. The water should be kept boiling and not cool down to any great degree for the best results.
  • Italians consume an average of 60 pounds of pasta annually.
  • Any pasta that is packaged in clear plastic containers are subject to nutrient loss from the lights in the market. Purchase pasta in boxes whenever possible.
  • Noodles must contain five to six percent egg solids.
  • Do not purchase any grains that are not whole. If you see numerous broken pieces, do not buy the grains.
  • Cooked wild rice will only keep in the refrigerator for one week.
  • Bulgur wheat is not a good quality nutritious whole wheat product unless their granules still have their dark brown coating.
  • Bulgur should be steamed, then dried and cracked into three different granulations. The coarsest is used for pilaf; the medium is used for cereals; the finest for tabbouleh.
  • Bulgur requires less cooking time than cracked wheat.
  • Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern dish made from cracked wheat or bulgur, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, dill or mint, plum tomatoes, scallions, minced garlic, salt, pepper and other cold vegetables if desired.
  • Use your frying basket or a large metal strainer when cooking pasta. This will save you the trouble of draining.
  • After opening pasta, save the unused portion in a glass jar.
  • Rice was first cultivated in Thailand in 3500 B.C.
  • Asia produces over 90 percent of the world's rice.
  • Rice is the staple grain of over 60 percent of the people of the world.
  • Brown rice is rice with only the husk removed.
  • Converted rice has been parboiled to remove the surface starch.
  • Unopened packages of rice should be stored at a cool room temperature.
  • To tenderize brown rice, allow rice to soak for an hour or two before cooking.
  • To cook rice, bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low heat 35 minutes, turn off heat and let stand covered for ten minutes.
  • To make an exceptional dessert from leftover rice, try folding in stiffly beaten whipped cream, and then add fresh fruit.
  • Always wash rice before using. This cleans out the hulls and other debris.
  • Whole grain products should be stored in solid tightly covered containers.
  • Macadamia nuts have more fat and calories than any other nut.
  • Before measuring whole grain flour, sift it with a coarse sifter. Avoid the squeeze handle types. Sifting will make a difference of up to two tablespoons per cup.
  • Kasha (buckwheat groats) is the fruit of the buckwheat plant. Prepare the same as rice. This is very healthy.

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