Grains have accompanied humans for millennia. Today they are used all around the world as the basis human nutrition, partially because they are so versatile.
High Bred Sweet Grass
The story of grain is actually based on the history of the cultivation of grasses. Each of the seven grasses cultivated are now considered part of the grain family. These grains are made up of corn, rice, wheat, rye, barley, oats and millet. All other common grains are subtypes of these seven. Spelt and Einkorn Wheat are, for example, subspecies of wheat.
The grains we grow today have little in common with those first cultivated in the Middle East thousands of years ago. Targeted selection and breeding have altered the characteristics of these plants over time. Our goal has always been to maximize yield. The plants should have the maximum grain yield possible without bending from the weight of the grains, which requires a very sturdy stalk. Of course, resistance to disease, pests and environmental factors also play a role in the plants we select for breeding.
A versatile all-rounder
The grains used today are very diverse. Grain is a staple food, and is used for livestock feed and raw materials for luxury foods and fuel, among other things. If we listed everything grain is used for in terms of food and beverages it would result in a long list. Here are just a few foods that are grains: wheat germ, sprouts, flour, wheat meal, grain coffee, corn starch, spirits, ...
Most grains are separated after the harvest and maturity by threshing the remaining plant parts. For most types of flour the shell of the grains are removed by grinding. With whole grain products, this is not the case. Here the shell remains on the wheat. Finally, the cores of the grains are removed or treated with heat. This ensures a longer shelf life.
The use of grains for the production of fuel is highly controversial because the prices on the world market continue to rise. Many people in poorer regions of the world can no longer afford grains.
The three countries that grow the most crops worldwide are China, the US and India. They grow around 50% of the world's annually harvested grain.
Corn, rice and wheat are the main grain crops grown. These three varieties account for 90% of the annual harvest, but the remaining 10% is made up by the other four varieties.
Grains contains a lot of high-quality vegetable protein and are a natural source of carbohydrates. In addition to essential fatty acids, many B vitamins and minerals are included, like iron.
At Genuss Region you'll see many types of Austria grain products, all of the best quality.
Click here to discover Austria's delicious grains.