Ancient grains continually top the lists of new product launches in the US and Europe. We previously covered a few of these grains in other articles. There have been recent revamps of common breakfast cereals to include these grains as they become more mainstream. Let’s cover a few more types of grains that are in this category.
A staple in the Middle East, bulgur is seen in tabbouleh salads, fried kibbeh, stuffed vegetables, meats, pilafs and as a key ingredient in stews. Bulgur is made from whole grain hard red wheat, which is parboiled, dried, and cracked, then sifted and labeled by particle size. The higher the number, the more fine the particle size, and the change in particle size produces varying textures and cooking times for the finished product. Bulgur differs from cracked wheat due to the parboiling step, as it makes it quick-cooking, but can be used in similar applications where cracked wheat is cooked.
In 2014, there were 96 products launched in Europe containing bulgur, while in North America, there were 32 products launched. Some recent product introductions include barley, bulgur and goat cheese as a meat substitute in France; as part of a tamari flavored snack mix in Canada; in a bulgur and mint salad in Germany; and in a squash, carrot and wheat stew infant dinner in France.
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Contrary to its name, buckwheat is not a relative to wheat, contains no gluten, and it is not a grain. It is a cousin of rhubarb, and buckwheat is the seed of a flowering fruit. Some may feel that it has a strong flavor. It can be milled into a flour for baking, or ground for grits. Buckwheat features more fiber than oatmeal, and is a good source of magnesium.
In 2014, there were 510 products launched in Europe containing buckwheat, while in North America, there were 191 products launched. Some recent product introductions include buckwheat as part of an infant porridge containing 7 grains and linseed in the Ukraine; in a crepe mix in Spain; in a gluten-free beer in Canada; as part of kale snack crackers in the US; in a dry adult dog food in Germany; and in a tea in Czech Republic.
Millet is a staple in China, Asia and India that was grown as early as 2700 BC. It has a mild delicate flavor when toasted, and is appropriate for gluten free formulating. It is high in magnesium and is a good source of protein. Himalayans use millet in soups and as a cereal, and Indians produce flat cakes with millet. In Africa, it is used in a fermented beverage.
In 2014, there were 349 products launched in Europe containing millet while in North America, there were 252 products launched. Some recent product introductions include a pizza crust mix in the US; as a vegan drink in Germany; in a sponge cake in the Netherlands; in a frozen prepared fish fillet coating in Canada; in multigrain tortilla chips in the UK; in a an adult cat food with rice and chicken for cats in Poland; and in a wet dog food containing pork, venison and salmon in the US.
Spelt is an ancient species of our modern day wheat, and is higher in protein than our modern wheat species. It has a slightly nutty flavor, and has a starchy character that acts well as a binder. Try it in hot breakfast cereals or in meatballs.
In 2014, there were 699 products launched in Europe containing spelt, while in North America, there were 86 products launched. Some recent product introductions include as a part of a rice, spelt and hazelnut drink in France; in an organic vegetable sausage in Italy; in a coconut, hazelnut and strawberry muesli in Finland; in a non-alcoholic beer in Germany; and in a dumpling mix in the Czech Republic.
It is best known for it’s connection with Ethiopian foods, and it's a key ingredient for a fermented, batter-based spongy flat bread called injera. It is appropriate as a thickener for pudding and gravies, and you will find it in many gluten-free flour blends.
In 2014, there were 22 products launched in Europe containing teff, while in North America, there were 18 products launched. Some recent product introductions include mini croissants in Canada; a frozen pizza crust in the US; in shortbread biscuits in France; in a fresh refrigerated pasta in the US; and in an organic frozen prepared pie crust in Netherlands.
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