Bulgur wheat is a type of dried wheat made from a variety of different whole wheat sources (but it is usually made from durum wheat). It undergoes minimal processing so it still retains its nutritional value. Bulgur is what’s left after wheat kernels have been steamed, dried, and crushed.
The milling of wheat into bulgur is believed to have begun in the Mediterranean area. Ancient civilizations such as Roman and Egyptian have been eating bulgur since 1000 B.C. It is commonly used in the Middle East, North Africa and India.
Bulgur is used like rice in Mediterranean countries. In fact, you can use bulgur in place of rice in most recipes. Bulgur lends its nutty flavor to whatever it is combined with, allowing you to use it as a main ingredient, thus cutting back on higher-calorie foods. Bulgur can also be added to stews, casseroles or used to make meat go further in products like hamburgers.
Health Benefits of Bulgur:
- Bulgur may help with weight loss. A cup of bulgur has 8 calories, less fat, and more than twice the fiber of brown rice.
- Bulgur is an ideal diet for people with diabetes because it has a lower glycemic index than white rice.
- Bulgur is a good source of insoluble fiber which helps eliminate wastes from the body faster.
- Bulgur contains betaine, this nutrient helps prevent inflammation of joints and arteries by as much as 20%.
- Bulgur contains a compound called ferulic acid which can prevent nitrates and nitrites (common in many canned and processed foods), from converting into nitrosamines. Nitrosamines have been linked to cancer.
Nutrient Content of Bulgur: Bulgur is a good source of the B vitamins, particularly thiamine and niacin and it has one of the highest mineral contents of any food. It is rich in iron, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium and magnesium.
How to Cook Bulgur: Since bulgur is already partially cooked, little time is needed for preparation. Combine a half cup of bulgur with one cup of liquid and simmer for 15 minutes. Let it stand for another ten minutes. Fluff with a fork to triple its volume.
Types of Bulgur: There are three grinds of Bulgur available – coarse, medium and fine. It is important to choose the right one because they are all ideal for different types of recipes. The finer the bulgur is, the quicker it will cook.
- Coarse bulgur has a consistency of rice, is often use in place of rice in any recipes.
- Medium-grind bulgur is used in cereals and fillings.
- Fine bulgur is suited to the popular cold Middle Eastern salad called tabbouleh.
Storage tip: Store bulgur in a screw-top glass jar in the refrigerator; it will keep for months.
“This post was originally published on April 12, 2012 @ 14:25”