Asia Minor is believed to have been the original home of rye. By the middle ages it was established as a major crop in central and northern Europe. Later, in America, rye was used to make an alcoholic drink as well as to provide food. South from the from the Arctic Circle through Scandinavia and the Soviet Union and into northeastern Europe, Germany and parts of France, the production and popularity of rye is the greatest. The English have never cared for rye, but rather have preferred as white a loaf of bread as they could get. Still, everyone but the wealthy ate flour milled from a mixture of wheat and rye, barley and rye or even from oats and rye. In A.D. 857, thousands of people died in the Rhine Valley because of a virulent fungus called ergot which infected the ripe heads of rye Further outbreaks of ergotism seem unlikely because strict precautions are now taken to insure that infected rye is not milled.
Whole grain rye is 12% protein, is rich in B-vitamin complex, and provides generous amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Overall, it contains higher concentrations of these nutrients than does whole wheat. Rye has the highest amount of lysine of all grains. (High-lysine cornmeal is now available,) The protein value of rye bread is considerably lower than that of wheat bread. Rye is low in gluten and must be combined with additional Vital Wheat Gluten or a high gluten grain such as wheat.
Rye is a good source of dietary fiber called arabinoxylan, a powerful antioxidant. It also contains compounds with potential bioactivities such as phenolic acids, alkylresorcinos and lignans. Whole grain rye improves bowel health, reduces the risk of diabetes and is a filling food, which helps control a healthy weight.
HOW TO PREPARE;
Basic cooked rye is made by using 3 parts water to 1 part grain. Bring the water to a boil; stir in the grain; return to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 40 to 50 minutes (or until the water is absorbed).
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