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Fields of Wheat


Wheat is growing here in Piatt County!

A group of 4-H kids joined UI Extension on a farm tour all about wheat. For all the different products wheat is used in, the visit to a wheat field and elevator was a great opportunity to explore local wheat.

Wheat Products

Wheat kernels out of the field are also called wheat berries.

From these, we can do some different things:

  • break into pieces (cracked wheat)
  • flatten (rolled wheat)
  • pre-cook and dry (bulgur)
  • mill into flour (whole wheat flour, graham flour)
  • separate kernels (into bran, germ, and endosperm)

Using flour, we make a multitude of different products:

  • Pasta (including couscous)
  • Cereal (both dry and hot cereals)
  • Breads (including variations such as bagels, English muffins, pita, etc.)
  • Baked goods (including pastries, muffins, cookies, etc.)

Nutrition

Nutritionally, 1/2 cup of cooked bulgur contains around 80 calories, 17g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 3g protein, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, folate, and magnesium. Bulgur is not a significant source of fat or sodium.

When buying products made with wheat (bread, pasta, etc.), buy those made with 100% whole wheat or that are "made with whole wheat (or grain)." Doing this, you maximize the amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber in these foods. Products made with white flour or non-whole-grain wheat flour have lost much of those nutrients.

Not sure how much "whole wheat" or "whole grain" your product has? Check "The Whole Grain Maze" from Iowa State University Extension to break down your ingredient list.

Reference: US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Eating

Many of us are familiar with using flour when baking. Replacing up to half of your all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour will add more vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your baked goods without sacrificing flavor and texture.

This month, try cooking with the wheat kernel. They make great hot side dishes (maybe try instead of rice in pilaf) and cold salads (tabbouleh is a refreshing cold salad with bulgur).

To get you started, Utah State University Extension has two resources for cooking wheat, including recipes: Whole Kernel and Bulgur Wheat: Preparation and Usage and Cooking Wheat.

Recipe Corner

Tabbouleh (Serves 8)

A flavorful cold grain salad, bring this recipe to your table on hot summer days.

1 cup dry bulgur wheat
1 cup water or broth
1/2 cup green onions or scallions, chopped
1 small cucumber, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
2 cups herbs (parsley, cilantro, and/or mint), minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Rinse the bulgur and set aside. Bring the water or broth to a boil and pour over bulgur. Let bulgur sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. The bulgur should be softened by this point. If excess water remains, drain.
2. Add the vegetables and herbs to the bulgur in a large bowl. Use more or less of each herb and vegetable depending on your taste preference.
3. Toss bulgur mixture with oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper, and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before eating. Or refrigerate until ready to serve. Tabbouleh will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a few days.
Nutritional analysis per serving (calculated without salt): 140 calories, 7g fat, 15mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g protein

Recipe courtesy of UI Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator, Kristen Bogdonas. Read the Bulgur Wheat: A Quick-Cooking, (and delicious!) Whole Grain post from her "Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness" blog.

Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.



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