This picture at the top of this page is of Joe and his children. There is Laura, Joe, Landen, Myiah, Nathan and Alex. This was taken some four or five years ago. They are all growning up now and just as dear as ever.
Whole grains can be the cornerstone of your family’s health and diet. At LITTLETON GRIST MILL, we use only “CERTIFIED ORGANIC GRAINS”, but all whole grains have tremendous health benefits.
WHAT’S IN A GRAIN (1)
Not all grains are botanically related – true grains, such as wheat, rice, oats, rye, millet, corn, triticale, and barley, are members of the grass family, Gramineae; other so-called grains, such as amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat, belong to different botanical families. But the kernels of the different grains all have a similar composition. A kernel is an edible seed composed of three parts – the bran, the endosperm, and the germ, or embryo. Some grains, notably rice, oats, and some varieties of barley, are also covered by an inedible papery sheath called the hull, which must be removed before the grain can be processed or consumed. Within each kernel are the nutrients needed for the embryo to grow until the plant can take root and get nourishment from outside sources.
The bran is the outer covering of the kernel. It makes up only a small portion of the grain but consists of several layers – including the nutrient-rich aleurone – and contains a disproportionate share of nutrients. The bran layers supply 86 percent of the niacin, 43 percent of the riboflavin, and 66 percent of all the minerals in the grain, as well as practically all of the grain’s dietary fiber. In some grains – wheat and corn, for example – the fiber is primarily insoluble, while in other grains, such as oats and barley, it is mainly soluble. Whole grains almost always contain the bran, but it is usually stripped away during milling and so is missing from most refined grain products.
The starchy endosperm accounts for about 83 percent of the grain’s weight. Most of the protein and carbohydrates are stored in the endosperm, as are some minerals and B vitamins (though less than are in the bran). This layer also has some dietary fiber; for example, about 25 percent of the fiber in wheat is found in the endosperm. In wheat, the endosperm is the part of the grain used to make white flour.
The smallest part of the grain is the germ; it constitutes about 2 percent of the kernel’s weight. Located at the base of the kernel, the germ is the part of the seed that if planted would sprout to form a new plant. It contains a good amount of polyunsaturated fat, and, as a consequence, is often removed during milling to prevent grain products from turning rancid. The germ is also relatively rich in vitamin E and the B vitamins, though it has fewer of the latter than are found in the bran or endosperm, and some minerals.
WHEAT GERM VS. WHEAT BRAN (1)
Wheat germ contains a fair amount of polyunsaturated fat, deriving 25 percent of its calories from fat. Wheat germ is a good source of thiamin, vitamin E, Iron, and riboflavin. One ounce (about 3 tablespoons) supplies 9 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber.
Wheat bran is also a nutritional storehouse; it offers niacin, magnesium, and iron. One ounce (about ½ cup) contains 5 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 12 grams of dietary fiber.
Between 65 and 90 percent of the calories in grains come from carbohydrates (mostly complex), which should comprise about two-thirds or more of the calories you consume each day. Grains are also rich in both soluble fiber (the kind that lowers blood-cholesterol levels) and insoluble (the kind that helps to prevent constipation and protects against some forms of cancer). People living in areas where unrefined whole grains make up a significant part of the diet are alleged to have a lower incidence of intestinal and bowel problems, such as colon cancer, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids, than those who live in the industrialized countries of Europe and North America, where grains are a less important component of the diet. Moreover, grains – especially whole grains – and grain products offer significant amounts of B vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, and niacin), vitamin E, iron, zinc, calcium, selenium, and magnesium).
The milling of grains into flour is among the most influential factors in creating nutritionally viable breads and flour products. Millers agree that the highest-quality flours are made by slow, cool grinding with stone mills. Expert stone milling requires both experience and artistry. The miller must ensure that the temperature, fineness of grind, sifting and mixing of flours are all optimal to deliver the most nutritious flour possible.
Stone milling is rare these days, but that is the way we do it at LITTLETON GRIST MILL. Most flour milling is performed by high-speed, high-volume steel cylinders or hammer mills. Cylinder mills grind grains with ridged or smooth pairs of cylinders that rotate at high speed. Grains are forced between the cylinders, which grind and tear the kernels instantly. In the grinding process, a great deal of heat is generated. While stone mills can grind grains at temperatures below 90° F, cylinder mills heat grains to 150° F. At just 119° F, most of the healthful, live enzymes in the flour are eliminated. At higher temperatures, many of the nutrients in the flour are destroyed. In addition, cylinder milling overexposes flour to air. This causes oxidation, which leads to the rancidity of oils in the grain. Thus the grain spoils quickly, losing its freshness, flavor, and aroma. Hammer mills, the most widely used flour mills in operation today, are even hotter and faster than cylinder mills. High-velocity steel hammer heads smash and powder whole grains at ultra-high speed. This method destroys more nutrients, thus producing a nutritionally inferior flour.
By contrast, stone milling is accomplished with two ridged grinding stones. The stones crush and grind the whole grains slowly and progressively, without oxidizing the flour or destroying the nutrients with heat. After grinding, the flour is sifted through a screen that catches larger particles of bran and germ. These are reground in a smaller, finer mill, and then are remixed with the rest of the flour to produce a uniform, fully nutritious milled-grain product.
WHITE VS. WHOLE-GRAIN FLOURS (2)
Most cylinder and hammer mills are used to transform whole nutritious grains into nutritionally devoid white flour. In the milling process, the bran and germ layers of the grains are stripped away, leaving only the white, pulpy interior kernel, or endosperm. When whole wheat is milled into white flour, 83 percent of the nutrients are removed, with mostly starch remaining. The fiber is gone, and the Vitamin E content is reduced, along with twenty-one other nutrients. The flour that is produced is so useless as a food that it must be fortified with synthetically manufactured thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, as well as iron. Thirty-five of the fifty U.S. states require that white flour must be thus enriched to be sold.
In addition to nutritional abuse and synthetic vitamin fortification, flour often suffers further adulteration with chemicals used to age, bleach, whiten, and preserve the product. Chlorine dioxide, an irritant to both the skin and respiratory tract, is used to bleach flour. Benzoyl peroxide, another bleaching agent, is also a skin irritant. Other additives include methyl bromide, nitrogen trichloride, alum, chalk, nitrogen peroxide, and ammonium carbonate. This is not the staff of life.
Organic whole-grain flour, when milled properly, does not lose its nutritional value. No synthetic nutrients or chemical additives are necessary. Quality whole-grain flours smell sweet and fresh, and deliver plenty of flavor when they are eaten.
· Consume adequate fiber intake to help support the gastrointestinal tract and help flush out toxins. Apples, berries, citrus fruits, and oatmeal are excellent sources of fiber. Flax fiber and wheat germ can also be added to foods to help increase fiber intake.
· Eat organic foods whenever possible to eliminate intake of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
· Eat a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods to eliminate additives and preservatives.
Try our pancake mixes and flours and taste the rich, natural flavor. It makes all the difference.
To your health
The Millers at Littleton Grist Mill
Two years ago we found that by adding stone ground wheat to our diet instead of the enriched white flour I was getting, made a big difference in our health. It was quite a while before I could cook with the whole wheat and make breads that were soft. The flavor was much better right from the beginning but the breads were so heavy you could not use them for sandwiches very well. I praticed and tried first this and then that and now have a nice soft whole wheat bread that tastes out of this world and has all of the vitamines, mineral, and fiber that wheat has to offer. It is truely the “staff of life”. This booklet has 35 pages, and can be bought by writing to me, Carol Petts at firstname.lastname@example.org The cost of the booklet is $5.00 postage included.
I get all my flour from Littleton, NH as I have found their flour to be the best at the best price. This picture is of Luke, who is Joe’s youngest child. He was not born when the top picture was taken. He was all excited when the flour arrived at his house as he loved the chocolate chip cookies made from this flour. To see more on the flour go to http://www.littletongristmill0nline.com Tell Karen that Carol Petts sent you.
I am adding new recipes all the time and will put many of them on this page plus other up dates.