The bulk grain section at Whole Foods used to confound my fellow shoppers. No one quite knew how to bag (paper, plastic, both?), tag (you've got to write the item code on there so the cashier can charge it), and tie (rubber band, twist tie, tape?) what they chose. The grease pencils always walked off with their users. And the section became a mess, a kind of whirlpool for spilled lentils, abandoned half sacks of cashews, and the sugary residue of candied ginger bits.
After a couple years, though, I believe we're getting the hang of it.
It’s worth knowing how to navigate this section. Bulk grains are cheaper, and attractive in glass or plastic containers on your kitchen counter—if they’re visible, you’ll be more likely to reach for them. You don’t need to worry about wading through a year’s supply of oat groats; get as little or as much as you need, and experiment with grains you haven’t tried (a cup of wheat berries costs less than a dollar, so nothing lost if it’s not for you).
Every weekend this month, I've made one big batch of grains for the week. I’ll stir in chopped peaches, pecans, goat cheese, and arugula one night, or sauté in a little butter and olive oil as a bed for stir-fried vegetables or ratatouille. Next will be breakfast parfaits like this one, with Greek yogurt, honey, and summer berries.
I’m loving the Farro, Cherry, and Walnut Salad from our June issue. How do you like to use whole grains?