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Cereals are the valuable fruits harvested from various grass plants. They comprise of edible grains such as wheat, oats, corn, and foods prepared from such grains. History: Cereals are named after ‘Ceres’, the roman goddess of agriculture. Agriculture first began in the Middle East, central and South American regions. The cereals, which figured prominently, were wheat and barley in the Middle East and corn in America and Mexican. Facts: The starchy carbohydrates, which are provided by cereals, are essential for human nutrition. Rice is a staple food for half the world’s population the remaining half cultivating wheat, oats, corn, barley, millet and so on. There is a wealth of starchy dishes in every cuisine in the world including Mexico’s corn tortillas, Italy’s pasta, and India’s wheat flour based roti. Usage: Cereals like rice will keep almost indefinitely. Rice can be cooked separately or processed to make rice flour, flaked rice and ground rice for use in puddings, cakes, thickening agent for sauces, soups and stews and is used in the production of rice wine sake. Commonly used cereals: Pearl Barley: The husked polished berry is pearl barley and is added to soups. Buckwheat: Native to china, its seeds are roasted and made into flour, which is used for pancakes, soba noodles. Corn meal/ maize flour: Native to Mexico, the dried grains when ground is known as cornmeal. It is also used for the production of bourbon whiskey, corn syrup and corn oil. Maize flour in India is called as ‘ makki ki atta’ and is used to produce the popular Punjabi bread ‘makki ki roti’. Oatmeal: Oats ground to various degrees of fineness or softened and rolled to make rolled oats. Native to central Europe cooked with water oats become porridge. Cracked wheat (Bulgur): Processed wheat popular through out the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. It is baked, cooked as pilaf or soaked and served as a raw salad (Tabouleh). Polenta: A derivative of corn can be eaten on its own as porridge or can be served with meat and fish dishes. Sago: A processed starch extracted from palm trees, native to Asia. Used for making sago crackers, Indian milk puddings etc., Bran: The brown outer layer of any cereal is a valuable source of fibre. Used to make bran flour and all bran break fast cereals. The book of Ingredients: Pages 124-125 and 256-257