NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Salute to Farmers, Transporters, Processors, Food Makers and Whole Grains!



According to statistics from the good people at North Dakota Ag in the Classroom, our state is the number one producer of durum and spring wheat.  Additionally, in 2011, our state produced 35% of the barley and 56% of the flaxseed in the United States, plus corn and other crops.  That’s a whole lot of grain! 

ND grain gets transported to elevators, and then to mills, processors and food makers, and it eventually ends up as flour, bread, pasta and other foods on our grocery store shelves and in our pantries and cupboards.


Every grain kernel has three parts.  The edible outside “wrapper” is the bran layer.  Most of the inside of the kernel is endosperm, but the tiny seed (also known as the germ or embryo) of the kernel is in there, too. 

When we use whole grain flours or eat bread, pasta, and cereals that name any whole grain first on the ingredient list, we get the nutrients and flavor benefits of all three parts of the grain kernel.

The nutrients include fiber, B-vitamins, phytochemicals, vitamin E, healthy fats, and micronutrients and trace minerals.

Because whole grains provide these nutrients, including whole grains in the diet on a regular basis is associated with lower body weights and reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

However, not all flours, pastas, breads, and cereals are made with whole grains.  When they aren’t, they are most often made from “enriched” grains.  Enriched grains do not include all three parts of the grain kernel.  They contain only endosperm, plus some added-back-in nutrients, such as some B-vitamins and iron, that are lost or missing because of not using the bran and germ of the grain kernel.  By reading food labels you can spot “enriched” as a word used to describe the first and/or later ingredients on the ingredient list of the food or flour.

The current recommendation to “make half your grains whole grains” is an easy, fun, tasty goal to pursue.  At my house, it looks like two-tone spaghetti because I use half whole grain spaghetti and half enriched spaghetti.  We also enjoy two-tone sandwiches when I put the sandwich filling between one slice of whole grain bread and one slice of bread made from enriched flour. 

Learn more about whole grains, and get recipes using whole grains to make Pancakes, Funny Face Pizzas, and Carrot Raisin Bread using whole grain ingredients, by requesting a copy of “Now Serving – More Whole Grains!” from the Extension office, or by viewing it online at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn695.pdf.

Sources: https://www.agclassroom.org/kids/stats/northdakota.pdf, http://www.nd.gov/aitc/agfacts/, https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn691.pdf, and https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn695.pdf

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/07/30/12/31/wheat-867607_960_720.jpg   
                    (downloaded 12/22/15) 

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