Our New Ancient Grains & Ways to Use Them
We are thrilled to have launched a new range of ancient grains across our farmshops and online. Harking back to the ingredients of our ancestors, these whole, unrefined grains offer a fantastic source of slow-release energy, a myriad of minerals and a variety of flavourful options for those following a low or gluten free diet.
Naturally low in gluten yet high in protein, fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and other nutritional benefits, it’s no wonder this slow-release grain was called the “marching grain” by the Roman Army.
Chef’s SUGGESTIONS: toast with nuts and seeds in homemade granola, simmer into warming porridge or creamy savoury crumbles. Bake in chewy cookies or try in this particularly delicious RHUBARB & BLOOD ORANGE BREAKFAST CRUMBLE.
Amaranth is a complete plant protein and is high in fibre, iron and calcium. The tiny seed has a malty, slightly nutty flavour and can be used in a wide variety of ways.
CHEF’S SUGGESTIONS: Simmer gently with milk to make amaranth porridge and sprinkle with your favourite toppings. Alternatively toast in a hot, dry pan for a crunchy addition to salads and other dishes. Combined with herbs, chargrilled greens and other grains such as brown rice or quinoa for a delicious, light salad or use it as a brilliant, natural thickener for soups and stews.
This attractive combination of red, white and black seeds is highly deserving of a place in your kitchen cupboards. A feast for the eyes, our tri-colour quinoa packs a nutritional punch with amazing levels of plant protein and adds a delicious texture and flavour to food.
CHEF’S SUGGESTIONS: stir through a delicious tabbouleh-style salad with finely chopped fresh parsley, mint, cucumber and lemon juice. Use as the base for a risotto or soup (as we have done in our e-Books) or combine with dried fruit, nuts, honey and coconut oil to make protein-rich energy balls.
A versatile, naturally gluten-free wholegrain packed with essential minerals and high in protein, calcium and iron. The fine texture of the grain means it is quick to cook while offering a unique and versatile texture. Teff flour is a fantastic gluten free option for baking – simply blitz the whole grains in a high-speed blender and sift as required.
CHEF’S SUGGESTIONS: stir through thick stews with greens and sweet tomatoes or use as a flour in the likes of our ancient grain bread.
Rich in protein, millet has a distinctive earthy, nutty flavour that can be used in a multitude of ways. Try toasting before you cook it to enhance the natural flavours.
CHEF’S SUGGESTIONS: toast, boil and strain before tossing through salads. Stir gently through scrambled eggs for an added hit of protein. Serve it as a bed for roasted vegetables, casseroles, stews and curries or once again, knead it into our delicious ancient grain bread.
WE TOUCHED BASE WITH ALEX HELY-HUTCHINSHON OF 26 GRAINS FOR AN INSIGHT ON HOW TO MAKE THE VERY MOST OF THESE NUTRIENT-RICH INGREDIENTS.
“The most crucial part of cooking with grains is the quality of the grains that you choose. A simple bowl of porridge is made even better, both in taste and in the way it makes you feel, by choosing a grain that has undergone the least amount of processing. At our 26 Grains shop in Neals Yard, we roll our oats ourselves through a flaker, simply splitting the soft oat through two disks, flattening them so that you can still see the colour of their outer husk and each component of the whole grain, nutrients included. We find it makes for a creamier, tastier and sweeter bowl of porridge, setting ours apart from any cut, rolled or steamed quick-cook oat porridge.Wheat and gluten have become a hot topic of conversation in food. There is no doubt that genetically modified crops have served a purpose when it comes to efficiency, however such interference has been at the expense of and accessibility to certain grains in their organic form, in-particular natural whole wheat. These days I tend to choose lesser-processed grains that do indeed contain gluten, but often in a more gentle form – grains such as spelt, barley and rye, each ancient and often unaltered since their original cultivation. Maintaining their natural minerals and nutritional value, they also have such unique flavours while the way that they behave in cooking and baking offers not just a challenge but also a reward.
Seasonality is hugely important to the way I cook and what we serve in the shop. In addition to natural, whole ancient grains, we try to cook with foods that haven’t travelled too far. It takes a lot to be patient waiting for the British berry season to arrive, but when out of season, they simply don’t compare to anything else that the current season can provide. It’s exciting and engaging and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”