What if Everything You Knew About Grains Was Wrong?

from Civil Eats

What if Everything You Knew About Grains Was Wrong?

By Twilight Greenaway on March 19, 2014

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It turns out there’s actually a lot more to know. Yes, localizing grain, and providing markets for heirloom varieties is important, and so is re-building smaller-scale grain infrastructure, and returning to fermentation-based baking traditions, rather than commercial yeast. But these are the problems I was familiar with. The argument I hadn’t heard, and it’s one Klein and several scientists on the panel that day seem to believe, is that we’ve also been milling grains—and in particular wheat—in a way that all but destroys it nutritionally.
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“Wheat is generally much more minerally dense than other staple crops,” said Killilea. “But most nutrients get milled out. We lose half the B vitamins, and lots of the vitamin E.” This last part is important, because wheat is a source of gamma vitamin E (or gamma tocopherol), which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
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What they’ve found, says Klein, is that, like small-scale meat, “There’s no real infrastructure for it. Grain milling and storage is done on an industrial level.” For one, there’s no way to keep your product intact and separate from the rest–until recently. (This last part is important to Klein, who prefers to sell products from single varieties, grown on single farms and list both pieces of information on the label when possible). He’s been working with small, medium, and a few large producers in his area, hoping to engage more as the market for such products picks up. “The big farms are anxious to get out of the commodity market,” he said.
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In addition to milling, breeding is another important piece of the local grain picture. In fact, the two industries have worked in tandem for generations. “Wheat is bred for roller mills,” said Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder from Washington State University’s Bread Lab. “People want it white in color, with low ash, but the ‘ash’ is where the nutrients are.”
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http://civileats.com/2014/03/19/what-if-everything-you-knew-about-grains...

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