Natural Foods Guides
Pumpkin seeds are high in protein and have a unique flavor that makes them especially enticing to eat as a snack, unadorned. When buying pumpkin seeds, you can choose between raw or roasted, shelled or unshelled, salted or unsalted. Roasting brings out their flavor and crunch, and you can easily roast them at home. Roasted pumpkin seeds are often marketed as pepitas. more→
Bland in flavor and rather mushy in texture, is no cause for culinary excitement, but it is nonetheless versatile and nourishing. It is available in natural-food stores as well as Indian food shops. more→
Wild rice is actually the seed of a tall aquatic grass that is not a form of rice, nor even a grain at all. Native to North America, most of our domestic crop is harvested by Native Americans in and around Minnesota and other Great Lakes states, where it thrives in freshwater lakes or rivers. The fact that wild rice is literally a wild grass has made attempts at large-scale commercial cultivation difficult. Its relative scarcity makes it very expensive. Because its flavor is quite pronounced, however, it can be successfully mixed with regular rice. Even in small quantities it lends elegance to any meal. The most economical way to buy wild rice is in bulk. more→
If you’re looking for healthy brown rice recipes (that happen to be vegan and most are also gluten-free), have fun exploring these easy, tasty choices. For information on brown rice nutrition and how to cook brown rice, visit our Brown Rice: Cooking Tips and Varieties page; and for even more on the nutritional benefits of brown rice, see Top 10 Health Benefits of Brown Rice. And if we have to choose our favorites, they’d be 6 Filling and Flavorful Brown Rice Recipes.
Two kinds of barley are available in natural food stores: pearl barley and pot barley, sometimes called Scotch barley. Unhulled barley is occasionally available, but it is not recommended except for the purposes of sprouting , since it takes a very long time to cook–and to chew. The most familiar form of barley is the pearled variety. Pearling is accomplished by grinding off the tenacious hulls of the grain with the use of abrasive disks called carborundum wheels. Pearl barley goes through five or six pearlings, removing all of the hull, plus most of the bran and germ. To make pot or Scotch barley, the grain goes through three pearlings to remove the most of the hull and some of the bran. It is therefore more nutritious than pearl barley. more→
Here’s a basic guide on how to cook quinoa, along with an array of easy recipes for this tasty, quick-cooking grain. Nutritious and versatile, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) is an ancient food indigenous to the South American Andes. Considered a “superfood” for its superior nutritional profile, it was revived for the American natural foods market in the 1980s. Your basic quinoa grain is a kind of yellowish-tan, but red and black varieties are now available as well. They cook up the same way and taste pretty much the same as well; their appeal is mainly visual.
Long considered a “poor man’s food,” lentils are actually a rich source of protein and nutrients and are easily digested. Best known as a main component of thick, filling soups, lentils are an important staple in Indian cuisine. Small and rather flat, lentils cook quickly and are highly flavored and aromatic. more→
Amazing amaranth, once a revered drop of the ancient Aztecs, is now coming back into use via the natural-food market. Native to Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and Bolivia, grain amaranth (as it is often called, to distinguish it from vegetable amaranth, a closely related plant) is a tiny, round seed, about half the size of a millet seed.