Everything You Need to Know About Ancient Grains

Kate Chynoweth
by Kate Chynoweth
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Everything You Need to Know About Ancient Grains

You don’t have to love quinoa to love ancient grains, because from amaranth to sorghum, there are lots to choose from. Many are gluten-free, providing great alternatives for people with wheat sensitivity. All tend to be higher in protein and fiber than refined grains and pasta, making them “good carbs” that are satisfying and filling.

While there’s no official definition, ancient grains are loosely defined as those that have remained largely unchanged over the last several hundred years — and all of them are increasingly popular. With so many to choose from, we rank seven popular ancient grains in order of best total package: how they taste, how the nutrition stacks up and how easy they are to incorporate into everyday meals.

About the Author

Kate Chynoweth
Kate Chynoweth

Kate’s writing about food and lifestyle has appeared in The Huffington Post, Live Happy, Real Simple and Sunset. She’s also the author of “Lemons,” “The Bridesmaid Guide” and other books. She lives in Berkeley, California, where she enjoys lowbrow pop culture and top-shelf booze.


9 responses to “Everything You Need to Know About Ancient Grains”

  1. Avatar Heidi Lee Hoerman says:

    farro can be emmer, eikorn, or spelt. What Bob’s Red Mill used to call farro was spelt. To avoid confusion, they now label it “spelt berries.” We’ve tried spelt and freekeh and like them a good deal. In fact, we regularly have spelt berries, rolled spelt and spelt flour in the house. We also usually have bulgur at hand which isn’t listed here but really is the same sort of stuff.

  2. Avatar Curious reader says:

    When did they actually change the labeling? I noticed the other day at the local Whole Foods, they still sell Bob’s Red Mill Farro..

  3. Avatar Ryan Kartheiser says:

    I gave up the those grans because wheat taste much better.

  4. Avatar Silvie says:

    I mix grains with similar cooking times together to create a mixed grain hot cereal. To give it an even greater nutritional boost, I might top with amartheth or chia seeds or mix in an egg.

  5. Avatar Nicole Fujiyama says:

    I like to pop amaranth like mini popcorn without the hard hulls. It’s a fun texture for grains.

    • Avatar Ther Richardson Sr. says:

      That is a really great idea, and a great tip to pass along. It is one way of getting them into your diet that I think most people would never even think of. Thanks for that.

  6. Avatar Revekka Balancier says:

    Puffed Amaranth can be mixed into a light dough and then grilled into a flatbread. Or frozen then popped into the toaster and spread with butter and jam or avocado. It can be added to eggs for texture. Made into crispy bars. Or soaked into an Agua Fresca with cinnamon and cane sugar for horchata without the rice starch. Not versatile?! I can even make apple cobbler topping with it!

  7. Avatar Christie Knox says:

    I mix amaranth & steel cut oats, cook them in my IP to make a lovely, nutty porridge.

  8. Avatar sherpeace says:

    Thanks for this! I never knew which were ancient or why “ancient” was so important!

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