Ancient Grains FAQs

WHY USE ANCIENT GRAINS?

Ancient grains have a lot to offer and their appeal has made them fairly accessible to everyone— their availability is no longer restricted to health food stores or gourmet restaurants. Healthfulness and superfood properties are huge benefits, and ancient grains also provide unique textures and flavors that add a whole new dimension
to many meals that you’re already eating.

Not all grains?

Although called ancient “grains” for culinary reasons, many are not even related to grains but have been grouped with them because of their cooking profile and similar nutrient content. Many of them are in fact seeds.

Where can you find them?

Although maybe less familiar to us than rice or couscous, most ancient grains are readily available and not difficult to find. Commonly found at health food stores, a lineup of ancient grains can now also be found at popular bulk food stores and in special sections of your local grocery store in whole, flake, puff and flour formats. For those who live in isolated locations, most grains can be easily found online at sites that offer reasonable shipping rates.

Which grains or seeds should be hulled?

The tough outermost layer of cellulose that covers a grain is the hull. Relatively indigestible, this layer may be high in fiber, but it does not contain much additional nutrition and in some cases prevents proper absorption of nutrients if it’s not removed or opened (cracked). Most grains and seeds are best eaten hulled; otherwise, they can have an unpleasant taste and texture or may take a very long time to cook. Remember, even without the outermost hull, they are still considered whole grains.

Ground, cooked or raw?

In some cases, if a seed or grain you are eating still has the outermost shell completely intact, your body may not benefit from the seed’s nutrition. The outer shell should at least be cracked, either by gentle cooking or pressure, such as grinding or hammering.

GMO?

One benefit to choosing ancient grains is that they are not currently tampered with by genetic modification. Most ancient grains are already naturally genetically complex and have become inherently strong crops from surviving thousands of years of harsh growing conditions in their natural environments. However, we recommend using products that specify on the label that they are NOT genetically modified.

Support fair trade!

The increasing global demand for some ancient grains means it is important to be aware of buying fair trade. Buying products certified as fair trade assures that the ancient grains are grown in healthy, sustainable environments where farmers and their land are not exploited.

What about storage?

All seeds, grains and flours should be kept out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place. Most of them will deteriorate quickly in warmer, more humid climates, so refrigerate them if necessary. Whole seeds generally last the longest, some even for many years if stored correctly. Flour lasts the shortest time, as it has been ground; however, it can remain fresh for months if stored properly.

Gluten-free?

Not all ancient grains are gluten-free, but the ones we use in Grain Power are all gluten-free. They are amaranth, buckwheat, chia, kaniwa (canawa, caniwa, baby quinoa), millet, oats, quinoa, sorghum and teff.