Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Emergency Preparedness Month- Cracked Wheat

The blender wheat pancakes inspired me to try and find other ways to eat unground wheat.  Here's what I ended up trying.

So, Everyday Food Storage has a little video about cracking your own wheat in your blender.  She also has a recipe for a jello salad (yuck!) with cracked wheat, but I really wanted to try just eating it for breakfast plain as I would eat cereal- with fruit and/or yogurt etc.  Here's a picture of what my wheat looked like after I cracked it.  Who knows if that's what it should look like... I felt like if I did this long enough, I might even get some flour out of the deal, because there was definitely a lot of powder clouding my view inside and floating out the top when I peaked in.  I decided to strain that away before cooking.

I'll be the first to admit, I'm terribly impatient and I loath tedious activities (which is why I hate making cut out cookies...) so I'm pretty sure the cracked wheat in the blender thing is not going to be a regular occurrence around here.  If I could set my blender to pulse it automatically for a set time, while I did other stuff, I definitely would.  OR if I could get my kids to do it.  But it took way too long for me.  I'm not sure how long it took, but it felt like forever.  I would probably pulse for a minute at a time and then look at it and wonder if anything had even happened yet, and then keep going.  Repeat 7ish times?  Perhaps I had too much in my blender?  I used about 1/3 of a cup.

Which is another thing-  if I'm going to do something tedious, it would have to be for big results, and 1/3 cup is not big enough for me.

Despite this, I cracked a full cup of wheat (in 3 batches) and cooked them in two different ways.
what my cracked wheat looks like.  not very uniform...
#1- The microwave method:
I put 1/3 cup in a 4 c pyrex measuring cup with 2/3 c water and microwaved for
6 minutes.  Still liquid.
2 more minutes.  Very slight liquid and still very very chewy.
2 more minutes.  No liquid and it was all getting hard and stuck together.  Yikes!  I added another 1/3 c and put it back in for
2 minutes.  still liquid. still chewy
1 more minute.  The liquid looked adequately gone and though chewy, it wasn't bad.
I gave some to Peach and she said it was yummy.  (but she's quite forgiving to my cooking.)
I added about 1 T of honey and stirred it up and gave some to Jay (with a scrunched look on his face) who decided he could eat that for breakfast and The Frog said it was gross before I even got it past his lips.

The verdict?  5 minutes of pulsing in a blender + 13 minutes in the microwave is on the verge of not fast enough for this mamma.  I could easily have pancakes ready in that time, so it probably won't happen around these parts much.

Way #2: rice cooker method
I put 2/3 c cracked wheat in the rice cooker with 1 1/3 c water.  I didn't watch it closely, but they were done when I checked on it about 30 minutes later.
cracked wheat from the rice cooker looked fluffier than the microwaved counter-part
I made several bowls with different toppings to try them different ways- banana and coconut milk, raisins and honey and (coconut) milk, maple syrup, agave, and (coconut) yogurt.  I think my favorite was the raisins and honey- the texture of the dried fruit just blended in very nicely.

The verdict?  I think I'm more likely to do it in the rice cooker, where I feel more comfortable leaving it unattended.  I could get it started and then go take a shower.  However, I would consider another method of cracking them, or even buying them cracked.  I do like the texture and it makes a nice alternative to oatmeal, but the blender cracking is just too tedious for me.

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