Sunday, March 14, 2010

Grains and Grasses workshop

Another Sunday, another Grains and Grasses workshop.

Well, why not spend Sunday at Barwon Downs learning how to grow and use grains and grasses such as wheat, oats and barley? Or the more unusual ones of maize, amaranth and quinoa?
Our teacher, Nick Romanowski, was a wealth of knowledge. For instance, I learnt that grains go rancid once they are ground or processed in any way. So there are two options:
a) eat very refined grains like white flour which have had all acids and oils stripped out, leaving only starch so a tad boring and not overly useful for the body, or
b) grind your own from whole grains
Now Nick has put his hand grinder into retirement as he found spending 20 minutes grinding enough flour to make one loaf of bread a bit too much effort. But his electric grinder worked a treat, so I'm considering getting one. We got to sample the wares by grinding, cooking and eating a chapati. Not too hard at all.
I tried out my tortilla making skills to form my chapati. It looked like a pretty mangled rectangle. My Guatemalan host family would not have been impressed.
Growing a little patch of wheat on my permaculture plot wouldn't be hard to do at all. It is also a very useful grain, as I love the comfort food of pasta and bread. I'd also like to try growing the Central American grain, amaranth. A good protein source, and is the Central American super grain equivalent of the South American quinoa. I can use amaranth for its leaves and seeds and put the two recipe books from Mexico and Guatemala I photocopied from the IMAP library to good use. Plus the seed heads look spectacular.

Different varieties of amaranth

Small plots require small equipment

Rice drying out

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