Cereals are seeds of certain of the grass family. They are very compact and are veritable storehouses of nourishment, having on an average about 85% nutritive value.
On account of their compactness it is often advantageous to grind or crush them, thus also increasing the variety in cereal products.
The cooking of cereals is for two purposes, viz., the softening of the cellulose and the changing of the starch from an insoluble to a soluble form. The latter is accomplished in a comparatively short time, but the thorough softening of the cellulose ofttimes requires several hours' cooking, the time varying with the size of the grain or the fineness of the grinding.
A double boiler is preferable to the sauce pan or kettle for the cooking, as it is a safeguard against burning and also cooks the grain without ebullition, which prevents the pastiness so often met with in mushes.
A fireless cooker is ideal for the cooking of this class of foods.
To obtain the best results, definite proportions of liquids and cereals must be used.
The water should be boiling when the cereal is introduced and should be allowed to boil five to ten minutes or until the grain is thickened or set. Then place in another vessel containing boiling water, or better still, use a double boiler.
Whole or nearly whole grains should not be stirred while cooking. They may be lifted occasionally with the aid of a fork, care being taken not to crush the grains.
Fortunately it is now possible to obtain on the market various breakfast cereals ready for serving, which are more thoroughly cooked than the housewife can possibly do.
In some cases where cellulose plays an important part in the dietary, it is advantageous to serve the grain less thoroughly cooked.
1 cup rice.
3 quarts boiling water.
3 teaspoons salt.
Pick over the rice grains and wash thoroughly by pouring boiling water over it and rinsing in several cold waters. Add slowly to the boiling salted water. Boil actively for about 20 minutes or until the grains are tender. As soon as the grains are soft turn the rice into a coarse strainer or colander, and drain off the liquid; then return to the kettle. Place in an open oven or on the back of the range uncovered and let it remain 5 minutes or until the kernels are dry and distinct. If necessary to stir the rice use a fork and lift the grains so as to prevent breaking the kernels.
1 cup rice.
5 cups boiling water.
1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
Wash the rice thoroughly by pouring boiling water over it and rinsing in several pans of cold water. To the actively boiling water add the salt and the washed rice; cover and set on the back of the stove where it will boil slowly for 15 minutes, then place in the oven, still covered, another 15 minutes. At the end of this time each gram should be soft and tender, yet whole and distinct.