Food commodity | cereals

Cereals comprise edible grains such as wheat, rice, oats, arrowroot, barley and the word cereal is named after ceres, the Roman  god of agriculture. 

Cereals  are high in carbohydrates and are also source of protein. They are staple food for more than half of world population. Most cereal are ground in flour. 

Cereals originated from wild grasses and include dried seeds of cultivated grasses. They can be stored for longer time and are both nutritious and palatable. 

All cereals consists of three distinct portions: the bran, germ and endosperm. Bran is the outermost layer that surrounds the grain. The endosperm forms the largest and central portion (80-85%) of entire grain. It contains most protein and starch but very minimum amount of mineral, vitamin and cellulose. Germ is the smallest portion of grain and it is the part from where new grain develops but it is often removed during milling to prevent cereals product from becoming rancid. We can improve shelf life of cereal greatly after removing germs. 

Rice is staple food for large part of world population and is categorized into : long grain , short grain and medium grain. When cooked the grains are separated and gives fluffy texture e.g basmati , American Carolina. Short grain rice is preferred by Chinese and Japanese. Arborio is short grain rice. Carolina is medium grain rice. Also there are brown rice and wild rice, in brown rice bran is removed which offers additional nutrients but take longer time to cook. similarly, wild rice is water grass mainly used for stuffing poultry.

Oat have highest food value than any other cereals. It is used as breakfast cereal along with biscuit, cake soup.

Arrowroot is obtained from a root of West Indies plant called maranta. It is easily contaminated by strong smelling foods.

Tapioca is obtained from root of tropical plant cassava .

Wheat is ground to flour. There are white flour,  whole meal flour and self raising flour . White flour contains 72-85 % whole grain and no bran, whole meal flour contains 100% whole whole grain and bran where self raising flour is white flour with addition of cream of tartar and bi carbonate of soda.

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