As whole grains become more popular, more markets are carrying them. If you’re buying whole grains from open bins, be sure that the store has a good turnover so they are fresh. Make sure that the bins are covered and kept clean.
At home, store whole grains in airtight containers, in a cool place, preferably the refrigerator. Oats, for example, have more natural oil than many people realize and can become rancid if they’re stored in a warm environment.
Soaking whole grains before cooking can reduce the cooking time.
Many grains improve in flavor if they’re toasted before cooking. Heat them in a nonstick pan over a low heat until just fragrant and they become darker, taking care not to burn them.
Once grains are cooked, they will keep in the fridge for two to three days. They freeze well, so it’s a good idea to make long-cooking grains in batches that can be frozen in portion sizes. Then they can easily be added to soups, casseroles and salads.
Here are some tips for eating more whole grains:
• Buy only whole grain bread.
• Substitute brown rice for white rice.
• Buy whole grain crackers for snacks.
• Read your breakfast cereals labels; get rid of refined, highly sugared ones in your pantry.
• Use whole grain tortillas and pita bread for sandwiches and wraps.
• Add some oats to stuffing, meatballs, and meat loaf.
• Try some of the “exotic” grains as side dishes such as triticale or millet.
• Look for Japanese soba buckwheat noodles. They’re good in soups or cold with sesame dressing.