As the name implies, ancient grains are not a new type of food. But there is a new interest in this category of grains that has grown substantially within the last year. Up until now, few Americans knew about or were interested in ancient grains, which, interestingly enough, are not all technically grains. However, as the organic and healthy eating movements grow, more and more people are incorporating foods like amaranth and quinoa into their diets. These grains and seeds feature unique textures and flavors, and they can be incorporated into many existing recipes to boost nutritional value.
This seed features a slightly peppery taste and comes in both whole grain and flour formats. It is known for stabilizing blood sugar levels and as a healthy weight-loss aid. Amaranth is also highly regarded for its high protein levels and abundant iron, calcium, and magnesium.
This incredibly nutritious seed is known as the super food of the Incas and comes from South America. It comes in white, red, and brown varieties and is prepared in its most basic form in a way that is similar to rice. As the seeds are cooked, little tail-like coils emerge and the seeds double in size. Quinoa has the distinction of being a complete protein, which means it has all nine essential amino acids.
This crop is grown in Ethiopia and is most commonly used in baked goods. It has a sweet flavor and is high in protein, iron, and calcium. The petite grain is ground up whole, with the hull included, to produce flour, which can easily be substituted in many recipes.