Grains & cereals: prepared to perfection

Grains and cereals make up for an important part of our diet. This peculiar food group of grains and cereals provides us with much needed nutrients, such as carbohydrates, protein, fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin, thiamin and zinc. Grains come in many shapes and sizes, and require excellent preparation in order to maintain all these valuable nutrients. Before being processed into your muesli or favorite cereals, grains must be dried perfectly. Being an end-consumer, you would only want to purchase quality product. After all, grains and cereals are food. How can they be prepared carefully? And what are the best choices?

What are grains?

All food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product. Grains, also referred to as cereals, are edible seeds of specific grasses. Grains are the most important staple food all around the globe. People consume grains in large numbers. In fact, 48% of our calorie intake comes from grains. Some grains are ready to consume right after being harvested. Others have to be processed first.

Besides human food, grains are also commonly used in animal feed. Especially domestic animals are fed food which is high in grains. Due to their nutritious nature, grains are used worldwide for many purposes.

Whole and refined grains

Grains can be divided into two groups: whole grains and refined grains. There are some differences between these two. Let’s get into that:

Whole grains:

Whole grains still contain the three layers they are made of:

– Bran: the grain’s outer layer
– Endosperm: the main part of the grain
– Germ: the smallest part of the grain

The bran and germ contain the most valuable ingredients. The nutrients are stored into these layers. Whole grains are thus very nutritious and healthy.

Refined grains:

Refined grains are milled. In this process, the bran and germ of the grain are removed. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life. However, this process also removes dietary fiber, iron and many B vitamins. This is the reason most refined grains are enriched, meaning that certain vitamins are added back after the milling process.

The challenges of wet grain

Wet grain must be dried before being further processed. Generally speaking, there are two ways of drying grain: sun drying and mechanical drying. Sun drying is usually used at farm level by farmers. However, this way of drying does not make it possible to control temperature or humidity, making it challenging to reach the desired moisture content.

Grains can also be dried using a machine. A machine provides better control over temperature, moisture content and more. It also presents the opportunity of overnight drying, when the sun is down. This is the reason dryers are used extensively in grain processing industries.

Drying grain however, is not that easy. As stated before, it is very important to be able to control aspects such as temperature and humidity. Otherwise the valuable nutrients of the grain could vanish. The dried grain is then of no more use. It is also important that the grain is dried evenly, to ensure a high quality product.

So, how can these problems be prevented?

Drying grain with a Ventilex Fluid Bed Dryer

Are you looking for a drying solution to process grain in the right way? Do you want to maintain essential nutrients and be able to regulate the whole process up to the slightest detail? Our fluid bed dryer is capable of accomplishing these goals.

In a Ventilex Fluid Bed Dryer, a solid product is caused to behave like a fluid by an upward-moving flow of gas. The mechanic shaking motion of the fluidized bed enhances this effect, swiftly causing high heat transfer and uniform results. This results in an optimal mix of gas and product, so that an optimum physical reaction speed is achieved. By choosing the right combination of gas speed and mechanical movement, you can process granular products with a wide range of grain sizes successfully. This while minimizing dust and fines, increasing yield.

By gently shaking the product, an optimal and uniform drying result can be achieved at a lower temperature and with shorter residence time. This makes fluidized beds the most energy-efficient drying solution in their league.

Due to its unique characteristics, the Ventilex Fluid Bed Dryer is exceptionally suitable for drying delicate grains.

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