Did you know that grains are the edible seeds of specific grasses? We as humans get about 48% on average of our calories, or food energy, from grains! Grains also can be used to feed livestock and manufacture cooking oils, fuels, cosmetics and even hand sanitizer.
True cereal grains include wheat, oat, rice, corn, barley, sorghum, rye and millet.Grains are annual plants, which means they have only one growing season per year and yield one crop.
Let’s talk about a few grains we use every day!
Wheat is a very popular grain and is the most widely cultivated cereal grain crop in the world. Wheat is typically milled into flour and then can be used to make a wide range of foods. These include bread, noodles, pasta, cakes, cereal bars, snack foods, and sauces.
Wheat is a type of grass whose fruit is a head of wheat with edible seeds. Wheat grown in the United States is broken up into six classes: hard red winter, hard red spring, soft red winter, soft white, hard white and durum.
Hard red winter is versatile and great for making wheat foods like hearth breads, rolls, croissants and flat breads. Hard red spring also is used to make hearth breads, rolls, croissants, bagels and pizza crust. Soft red winter is great for making cookies, crackers and cakes! Soft white can be used to produce Asian style noodles, and other confectionary products. Hard white also makes Asian style noodles and flat breads. Last, durum is high in gluten and is used specially for making pastas and Mediterranean breads.
Did you know that 210 loaves of bread can be made from 5 bushels of wheat?
Sorghum is a relative of sugar cane and is drought tolerant, has resistance to mycotoxins and fungi and has survivability in harsher climatic conditions. Additionally, they tend to grow in warmer climates. Varieties of sorghum range in color from white, yellow, red, purple and brown.
Sorghum is mainly used as a flour or as a grain, in different breakfast cereals or snack bars, and breads or other snack foods.
Did you know sorghum has recently become popular in food products, because some people need foods that are gluten free?
Rice is grown in over 100 countries and is consumed by more people in the world than any other grain. It is a staple food in most of Asia and is grown in warm parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, northern Italy and the United States. More than 40,000 varieties of rice exist, but the most consumed types are white rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, brown rice and colored rice.
Did you know that to make white rice, the nutrient rich bran layer is removed? Although this is removed, white rice still contains protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Heavier clay soils that retain water and found in areas with heavier rain falls are ideal conditions for growing rice. Rice is typically planted in a flat field filled with water, but before cropping the water is drained from the field. Deltas, river valleys, coastal plains and terraced fields in mountainous regions are ideal for growing rice.
Rice is mostly made up of carbohydrates and protein.
Rice is used to make puffed rice, found in breakfast cereals, rice flour, rice bran, rice bran oil and sake, a Japanese rice wine.
Feel free to play out Amazing Grains My American Farm game to test your knowledge on grains!
Eager to learn more? Keep an eye out for our Wheat Ag Mag coming soon!