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Chew Well

This morning I ate the Ultimate Whole Breakfast. It’s a whole grain mix of organic oats, buckwheat, golden flax, barley, spelt and lentils. Fieldstone Granary sells it by the bag at their Armstrong location. I was holidaying in the Okanagan Valley recently and was lucky enough to get a tour of the granary from Margaret, the manager.

I didn’t know much about granaries. First of all, I found out, it’s not a mill. They thresh, store and sell whole grains there. Threshing means they thoroughly thrash the cereal plant with a machine to separate the grain or seed from the husk or straw. There is no flour there. Well, that’s not entirely true, there was some flour, made specially for Newman’s Own organic dog biscuits.

Usually, a granary completes the first step in the processing of grain. The grain would then be ground or pulverized at a mill. But Fieldstone sells these darling little counter top mills so their customers can grind their own cereals and flours daily. It is also a storehouse for threshed grain or animal feed. They source their organic grains from the Okanagan first, then BC, then the prairies.

In the granary store, the grains are lined up on shelves in windowed packages. It was fascinating to see what the whole grains actually look like. I was intrigued by the breakfast mix and decided to give it a try.

The instructions on the package said a single serving was approximately three to five tablespoons and to soak it over night. Because I didn’t see myself soaking the grains every day, I soaked a cup, covering it in water. In the morning I found a gloppy glutinous coating on the cereal. Undeterred, I rinsed off the gloop and dumped it into three cups of boiling water just like I would oatmeal, covered and simmered it for about fifteen minutes or so. When I took off the lid, there was still lots of water and more gloop. I scooped out a portion of the cereal with a slotted spoon and had it with vanilla soy milk. It was nutty, delicious, but very chewy. The package warned me to chew well, and that way all the fibre, vitamins and minerals are released. So I did. Then I emailed Margaret to find out if I’d done something wrong.

Margaret explained that the glutinous matter is from the golden flax. And the reason why there were no cooking instructions on the package is because it is usually eaten raw! The soaking softens the grain and then it can be eaten as is. One of their market research staff had cooked it, using a similar process to mine though, so I had not violated any whole grain eating rules.

After my first morning of eating the grain warm, I tried it cold, as a sort of compromise, but mostly because it’s so hot out. It was just as good cold. Tomorrow I think I’ll add fruit and coconut yogurt. Now that sounds like the ultimate breakfast.

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