The benefits of eating whole grains have been extolled numerous times here on Care2.com. Now, let’s get down to cooking them properly. Because a hard outer shell protects the seed of the grain there are certain preliminary steps to take in order to ensure maximum access to a grains powerhouse concentration of micronutrients.
Soaking grains: all ancient cultures soaked and/or fermented grains in order to neutralize enzyme inhibitors and the effects of phytic acid, which binds to calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestines. Soak grains 6-12 hours, or overnight, which pre-digests gluten and indigestible proteins rendering the grain more digestible. Even one hour of soaking will help to soften grains. Change water before cooking.
Cooking pots: slow cooking requires a heavier type of pot. Enamel on iron is one of the best for long cooking grains. Pressure cooker shortens cooking time, plus concentrates the nutrients. A rice cooker makes cooking grains easy, and a crock-pot is great for cooking soft, soup-like grains overnight.
Flame deflector: an inexpensive kitchen tool used for long simmering of grains and beans to evenly distribute heat and energy. Place deflector under a heavy cooking pot once the water comes to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
Water: use filtered, spring or distilled water to avoid fluoride, chlorine, pesticide or pharmaceutical drug contamination.
Sea Salt: not much is needed, 1/8-1/2 teaspoon per cup of grain. For grains such as wheat or spelt berries, kamut, or barley add salt only at the final 30 minutes of cooking to ensure a tender conclusion.
Next: Stove top cooking.