why rinse grains and preferably soak them?

at the 3 sister's winter market

It’s always a good idea to at least rinse whole grains before you use them since they are likely exposed to dirt and dust all along the path from field to market. Since our grains are USDA organic, they are not exposed to any chemicals or toxins used in conventional agriculture. However, I did end up treating some of the 2010 harvested grains in storage with diatomaceous earth to prevent damage from mites. You can see trace amounts of this white substance on some of the grains.

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a non-toxic food grade organic solution to deal with mites. It is a white powder that comes from fossilized fresh water algae. Once mixed into the grains it both kills any mites amongst the grain and keeps them away. It is a great alternative to the highly toxic fumigation process that non-organic operations often use to eliminate common mite issues.

In July I discovered a tiny white mite, Acarus Siro, in some storage bins at the barn. This was a very sad moment. If allowed to linger, this little creature eats the kernel, which basically kills the seed, which is frankly a disaster and you risk losing your whole inventory. The diatomaceous earth is abrasive to the mites little bodies and basically dries them out. Some people advocate eating DE as a health supplement since it is high in silica and is said to benefit skin conditions, so I did not hesitate to rescue the grain crop in this way. It took hours to mix the DE into my storage bins and I remain grateful for the kind people who helped me with such a labor-intensive process.

I also discovered that freezing the grain for a few days works well to get rid of mites. I wish I had enough freezer space to store all 12,000 lb of grains but I did not, so I had to treat a lot of it with the DE white powder, which is why I am recommending rinsing the grains before use! Although the tiny amount of tasteless DE remaining on the grains is a cosmetic issue more than anything.

 Ideally though you would be organized enough in your kitchen to soak the grain at least 8 hours before use, this wakes up the seed, activates the enzymes and means that the grain cooks faster and more of the nutrients become digestible.

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One Response to why rinse grains and preferably soak them?

  1. James Sundberg says:

    Thank you for such a full and honest disclosure. And it is good to be reminded to soak the grains overnight, to increase the benefits of these delicious heirlooms.

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