Freezing Whole Grains

Published:  01/02/2018

People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.

Whole grains are highly nutritious and offer several health benefits. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of obesity and some chronic diseases. PMID: 36553836

Unlike refined grains, which have had the bran and germ removed, whole grains retain all parts of the grain, providing a richer nutrient profile.

Here are some reasons why whole grains are considered nutritious:

Fiber content: Whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes satiety, and supports a healthy digestive system. It can also contribute to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of certain diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Vitamins and minerals: Whole grains are a natural source of vitamins and minerals. They typically contain B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, iron, and selenium. These nutrients play important roles in various bodily functions, including energy production, immune function, and overall health.

Antioxidants: Whole grains contain antioxidants, including phenolic compounds, lignans, and flavonoids, which help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation. Antioxidants contribute to overall health and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and certain cancers.

Slow release of carbohydrates: Whole grains have a lower glycemic index compared to refined grains. This means that they are digested more slowly, resulting in a slower and steadier release of glucose into the bloodstream. This can help regulate blood sugar levels, provide sustained energy, and contribute to better overall glycemic control.

Heart health benefits: Regular consumption of whole grains has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. The fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds found in whole grains help lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Weight management: Whole grains can support weight management due to their fiber content and slower digestion. They can help you feel fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood of overeating and aiding in weight control.

Examples of whole grains include whole wheat, oats, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and buckwheat. When incorporating whole grains into your diet, it's best to choose minimally processed options and check food labels to ensure the product is made with whole grains rather than refined grains.

What Grains Freeze Well and How to Cook Them

Grains can be time consuming to cook, and lack of time is one of the most common reasons people tell me they don't bother. 

I've noticed how much I enjoy having cooked grains on hand for meals or healthy grain bowls on the fly.

Cooked grains will last approximately 3-4 days in the fridge, but they'll last about 2 months in the freezer. 

The trick to freezing grains is to use heartier grains like brown rice, barley, freekeh, farro, wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat and wheat, rye or spelt berries and avoiding tiny grains like teff, millet and amaranth which do not freeze well. 

If you haven't tried some of these types of grains, I encourage you to! Freekeh is a delicious smokey and nutty wheat grain from the middle east and Northern Africa. Growers harvest the wheat before it fully ripens, then burn the stalks to remove the chaff. The moist young grains survive the fire, and vigorous "rubbing"  releases the now toasty green kernels. You can buy Freekeh on Amazon here

First, cook the grains and then cool the cooked grains completely on a tray or sheet pan. Use a fork to fluff the grains after a few minutes to vent the steam.

Fill a plastic freezer bag with the grains, squeeze the air out, label, date and lay flat on a cookie sheet pan in the freezer for a couple hours until completely frozen.

To prepare the frozen grains, pour the grain into a sauce pan with a little liquid and reheat on low. Or put the grain into a microwave safe container, cover and heat in 1 minute increments and stirring until warm.


Categories:   Food 

Tags:   #mealplanning

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