There are many varieties and types of cereals, but in general they are foods rich in carbohydrates, fiber, especially wholegrain varieties, and vitamins of group B.
There are many types of cereals and we have more and more different varieties of cereals or grains, as they are called in some places.
A couple of decades ago, when we wanted to ask someone how many times a week they consumed cereals, they were asked about rice and pasta, there we added the bread they had and if they put corn in their salad and that’s it. Today, in addition to rice and pasta, we may be talking to someone who eats cereals in the form of wheat semolina in couscous, who eats quinoa, considered a pseudocereal , but we can even meet people who eat other varieties of cereal, like buckwheat or millet.
Wheat and other similar grains
Despite being used to consuming wheat once it has been processed and transformed into pasta, bread, flour, etc., you can also eat cooked grain, like other similar cereals such as barley or rye, etc.
- Wheat: despite the growing expansion of the supply of cereals, wheat continues to be the type of cereal most consumed in the peninsula and with which pasta, bread and flour are traditionally made.
- Oatmeal: we are used to seeing it in flakes to have it for breakfast or to make different preparations and its distinctive nutritional value is a remarkable protein content within the group of cereals.
- Rye: it is another grain similar in appearance to wheat that can be used to make sauteed or stews.
- Spelled: we know this type of cereal especially for its use in the preparation of bakery products since it offers good results in this sector and is one of the cereals with the highest content in bran.
- Barley: its consumption in grain is not usual, but if we find it at an acceptable price it is a very good option to make stuffed vegetables, for example.
- Kamut: it is the oldest known type of wheat , it has a sweet touch that goes well for making pastries, although we can also use it in salty.
Some recipes: barley burger with red peppers; rye salad with feta, mint and prawns; spelled noodles with broccoli.
Corn is a very interesting type of cereal due to its versatility and the possibilities it offers to people with celiac disease, as it does not contain gluten, just like rice. Corn has great variability in grain color, texture, composition, and appearance. It can be classified based on the constitution of the grain, its color, its use, its maturity and the place of cultivation.
The most important types of corn are: hard, serrated, pop, sweet, floury, waxy and tunicate.
So, although when thinking about corn the typical yellow ear comes to mind, we must bear in mind that there are different varieties, and probably the most differential between them are their showy colors.
Some recipes: corn, tomato and avocado salad; corn tortillas stuffed with sauteed vegetables; corn pie with minced meat.
Rice and its varieties
It is an energetic food rich in vitamins . All the varieties of rice that we can currently find on the market can be classified into three types of grain:
- Long-grain or Indica-type rice : this elongated rice that hardly sticks is used mainly for salads and garnishes, as well as in some oriental preparations. Some examples of long grain rice are: Basmati, Jasmine or Ferrini.
- Medium grain rice: it is the most common in Spanish cuisine, and twice as long as it is wide. Some examples are Bomba rice and Carnaroli rice.
- Round grain rice or Japonica type: it is the rounder and stickier variety, as the grains stick easily, even at room temperature. Arborio rice or Vialone Nano are part of this variety.
In addition, we can find other classifications that speak of glutinous rice , a particularly sticky round grain rice that, due to its ability to cake, is used especially to make sushi. Also aromatic rice, such as Basmati, is usually medium or long grain and has aromatic compounds that confer the aroma. Or pigmented rice that contains colored compounds in the bran.
Some recipes: chicken curry with basmati rice and coconut milk; Arborio or Carnaroli rice risotto with mushrooms; red rice with spring onion, pumpkin and walnuts.
- Millet: with this name we know a group of similar cereals that are shaped like small yellowish balls. The millet contains no gluten and has slow carbohydrates and fiber absorption.
- Teff: This tiny cereal typical of Ethiopia, is a type of gluten-free cereal with a low glycemic index due to the amount of fiber it contains. It is used to make bread and pastries.
- Sorghum: This cereal is very similar to millet, it does not have gluten either and the difference is that its color can range from whitish to dark red, brown even purple.
Some recipes: risotto with sorghum and parmesan, baked millet and carrot croquettes, Injera (Ethiopian fluffy bread).
Grains that are not cereals
- Buckwheat: although it is called wheat, it is not properly a cereal and is somewhat less nutritious than cereals, the advantage is its resistance to pests and its rapid growth.
- Amaranth: this grain is similar to cereals, but botanically we cannot consider it as such, therefore it is a pseudocereal. It is used to make pastries, as puffed “cereal” for breakfast, and so on.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is considered a pseudocereal since, despite being a seed, it is consumed as if it were a cereal. Its nutritional content is characterized by its high protein content compared to cereals.
- Bulgur: bulgur comes from a type of cereal, but it is not the name of a cereal, but rather the name given to cooked, dried and later broken grains. It is used to make dishes such as tabouleh.
Some recipes: Amaranth and spinach pancakes; quinoa salad with peppers; Tabulate.
What you should know…
- There are many varieties and types of cereals , but in general they are foods rich in carbohydrates, fiber, especially wholegrain varieties, and vitamins of group B.
- With cereal grains we can make pasta and flours that give rise to many preparations, although we can also consume simply cooked grains.
- Some of the foods that we use as cereals (millet, buckwheat …) are not actually cereals , but rather are pseudo- cereals .