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Cereal or grains refer to a kind of grass that belongs to the monocot family. Cereal is basically grown for the seeds obtained from its fruit that is edible in nature. It is considered as versatile and energy-packed foods. Almost all species of cereal have similar nutritional values and characteristics and also their cultivation requires similar process. Though cereals are much more nutritious in whole form during milling process the husk or bran of cereal is removed in order to obtain processed cereals. Usually, market sold cereals are processed and used in various cereal recipes. Bread, muffins, cookies and even cakes are the popular cereal dishes across the globe.

History and Origin of Cereal

Though history of cereal is still unknown but some facts show that in American cuisine, breakfast cereals gained popularity in 1863. A kind of health movement has started in America in 1860 that led to the introduction of cereals in breakfast. Prior to this, Americans use to feed on meats and heavy breakfast dishes but with the importance of health foods the cereal recipes came into existence. The outer skin of cereals was removed to make the flour that is since then widely used in making enormous range of cereal dishes.

Culinary Use of Cereals

Cereals are the most popular staple food in almost all diets. It is considered a very versatile food item that has high nutritional content. Cereals are found in several recipes such as breads, breakfast cereals as well as in main dishes. Cereal recipes including rice as well as wheat are the most popular of all the recipes. The popcorn used as favorite snack of all age-groups is also a best example of maize cereal. This cereal is fondly used to make corn flour, corn syrup and famous American whiskeys. Barley cereal is mostly used to make alcoholic drinks and also added to make soups and stews. Oat is a popular form of cereal and has varied uses such as breakfast cereal and oat breads and muffins. Wheat cereal is commonly used to make Indian roti as well as whole wheat cakes and cookies. Another most popular cereal is semolina that is used to make porridge and various sweet dishes. Cereals are a popular ingredient in making various baby foods due to its easily digestive properties. It is always advisable to use cereals with its husk because this make it an healthier option.

Popular Cereal Recipes

• Roti – It is an Indian bread made up of wheat. It is basically eaten as a side dish with various Indian recipes.

• Apricot yogurt cereal – This is one of the most popular cereal recipes served in breakfast. The goodness of apricot mixed with cereal and yogurt provides additional nutrition.

• Beer – This is an alcoholic drink popularly consumed all over the world. Malted barley is mainly used to make this famous alcoholic drink.

• Corn syrup – It is a kind of sweetener made up of corn cereal and added in several manufactured desserts.

• American whiskey – It is also one of the most popular cereal recipes that make good use of fermented cereals including barley, wheat and corn.

Cuisines Commonly Making Cereal Dishes

Cereal is such a food stuff that is used in almost all cuisines of world but few cuisines make generous use of this energy-packed food. Middle Eastern countries mostly use barley as a staple food. Pearl barley is the variety that is fondly used to make soup and stew dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine. In American cuisine, breakfast cereals are popular since 19th century. Popcorns, corn flour and oatmeal are some other cereal recipes that are widely used to make several American dishes. In Indian as well as Pakistani cuisine, wheat and rice dishes are popularly eaten in almost all meals. Pasta, the staple food in European cuisine is usually made up of durum-wheat, which is a gluten-free cereal. Biscuits, pastries and cookies are cereal recipes that are popular in international cuisine.

Preferred Methods of Making Cereal Dishes

Cereal dishes enjoy an immense popularity across the globe and several methods are adopted to make delectable cereal recipes. Some of them are as follows:

• Baked – This is one of the most popular methods of making cereal dishes. Cereals used in making baked items are usually in the form of flour.

• Fermented – Alcoholic drinks such as whiskey and beer calls for the fermentation of cereals.

• Boiled – Few cereals such as barley and corn are boiled to make soup and stew recipes.

• Mixed – Cereals are mixed with fruits and milk to prepare breakfast cereal recipes.

• Fried – In Indian cuisine, cereal flour is often used to coat various fried snacks and to make wraps.

Nutritive Value of Cereals

Wheat and other cereals are considered highly nutritious in whole-grain form. Whole grain cereals contain vitamin B and high dietary fibers. Cereal dishes also contain high protein contents and carbohydrates. Cereals such as maize and corn are gluten free cereals that are easily digestible. Rice contains calcium and iron.

Buying and Storing of Cereals

High-quality cereals should be purchased from grocery stores. Usually, cereals get rancid very quickly hence it should be stored in a cool and dry place for not a very long time. Cooked and leftover cereal dishes should also be kept in refrigerator and consumed within 2-3 days. Types of Cereal Some of the most popular varieties of cereal are as follows:

• Barley – It is rich in carbohydrates but has less quantity of vitamins and fibers.

• Maize or corn – It is a gluten-free cereal that is popularly used to make breakfast cereal recipes as well as cereal snacks.

• Millet – It is basically used as a gluten-free cereal to make flat-breads in North African cuisine.

• Oat – Oat is a gluttonous cereal hence it should be avoided by people with coeliac disease.

• Rice – It is one of the most popular staple cereals around the world.

• Rye – It is popularly used to make rye breads and crisp breads.

• Wheat – Like rice, it is also considered as the most popular of all cereals. It has two varieties: gluten-free and with gluten. Hence cereal recipes made with wheat has different properties.

Cereal Trivia

• The most popular breakfast cereal is ‘Kellogg’s’ and it was introduced by Will Keith Kellogg in 1894.