How to Pop Whole Grains
To take your whole grains to the next level, pop them.
When it comes to popping, corn gets all the attention. But don't overlook other whole grains. We experimented with the varieties featured in our article on grain cookery and found that larger types—namely wheat berries, spelt, and kamut—take on a hearty crunch and nutty flavor when they're popped, making them a terrific snack or a wholesome topping to add to soups or salads. (Smaller whole grains, such as barley or rye, have a smaller proportion of starchy endosperm to bran and remained too hard to be enjoyable.) We also found that a brief simmer in salted water prior to popping helped season the grains and soften their starch, so they weren't dense and tough when popped. (Note that the grains will make a noise as they pop and will jump around the skillet, but they won't fully open like popcorn does.)