A valuable source of fiber and nutrients, grains have long been a vital part of man’s diet. They have been ground into flour for baking since ancient times, and for just as long have been eaten as a hot cereal – also called mush or gruel.
Grains are the dried seeds of grass-like plans. The most familiar are wheat, rice, oats, corn, rye, barley, buckwheat, and millet. All can be eaten hot as a cereal by boiling them.
Oats are usually steamed to soften them and then rolled into flaky particles. The only difference between old-fashioned and quick oats is the thickness and size of the flakes. Steel-cut oats, also called Scotch or Irish oatmeal, are small-cut oat grains with a nuttier flavor
Amaranth (amaranthus caudatus) is a gluten-free, pseudo-cereal seed with an earthy, grassy flavor, similar to beets. Amaranth seeds can be cooked into porridge, ground into flour, popped or flaked. As a complete protein (containing 18 amino acids), amaranth was an energizing staple for the Aztecs and Mayans who used it to make tortillas, atole and sweets. This tiny seed is a rich source of calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium! Amaranth contains more protein than most other grains and pseudo-cereals.
Amaranth shares many characteristics with quinoa. Both are tiny seeds that are gluten-free, cook quickly, and are complete proteins. While both have a high protein content, amaranth has 9 grams in a 1-cup cooked serving, while quinoa has 8 grams. Also, amaranth has twice as much iron (5 mg in a 1-cup serving). Both quinoa and amaranth are a good source of magnesium and zinc, as well as Vitamin B6. Both have a fairly bland, earthy flavor, but quinoa is milder and can take on the flavor of a dish more easily than amaranth can. Quinoa can be cooked into a soft, fluffy side dish, whereas cooked amaranth has a much wetter consistency with a bit of a chew to it.
The earthy, beet-like flavor of amaranth pairs well with squash, corn, sesame, cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate flavors, offering endless possibilities!
Mornings are a special time of day and a hearty country breakfast, cooked simply and served with care feeds both the body and soul. Hot porridge on a winter’s day is so thoroughly satisfying and always reminds me of snow-covered trees and warm, cozy kitchens. Setting bowls of oatmeal before my children on a cold morning makes me feel better about sending them out to the side of the road to wait for a school bus. In our home, we love to include honey or maple syrup, fruits, nuts, and good country butter to make our hot cereal sweeter on a blustery Saturday morning, shoring up energy for the household tasks we have set for the day.
Millet Porridge with Fruits
- Basic Ingredients:
- 1 c. amaranth grain
- 1 c. steel cut oats
- 3 c. purified water
- 1 tbsp. buttermilk or other acidic liquid
- 3-4 c. of almond milk (more if needed)
- 2 tbsp. almond butter
- 2 tsp. a mixture of hemp seeds and ground flax seeds
- 2 tsp. chia seeds
- 1 tbsp. honey
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- To Serve:
- apples (sliced or shredded)
- nuts: pecans, pine, almonds
- maple syrup
Soak amaranth and steel cut oats in purified water and buttermilk or other acidic liquid overnight.
In the morning, rinse grains in warm water. In the medium saucepan mix together grains and everything else. Slowly bring to a boil and then simmer over until desired consistency is reached about 10-15 minutes. Add more water or milk if need it. Serve with everything you love to have for breakfast. Sometimes I even add avocado to my morning porridge bowl.
The total time for this dish does not include soaking the grain. Soaking grains and seeds at least 8 hours with a tablespoon of acidic liquid (whey, buttermilk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, etc.) helps your body absorb the nutrients from these nutrient-packed ingredients!