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Foods

Bulgur

Why Eat It
Varieties
Availability
Shopping
Storage
Preparation
Nutrition Chart


Why Eat It

A processed form of whole wheat, bulgur is produced by a method similar to that used for converted rice: The whole-wheat kernels are steam-cooked and dried, then cracked into pieces. Of the various forms of whole wheat, it's the easiest to cook, requiring nothing more than steeping (soaking) in boiling water. Bulgur's appealing texture and robust flavor make a delicious and healthy change from rice or potatoes. Bulgur, like other forms of whole wheat, is a good source of complex carbohydrates, protein, niacin, and several important minerals. Bulgur is an excellent source of insoluble fiber. As with other grains, bulgur also contains lignans (a phytoestrogen with possible cardioprotective properties) and some vitamin E.

Varieties

Bulgur comes in three different granulations: coarse, medium, and fine. Traditionally, the coarsest grain is used for pilaf (cooked like rice); the medium for cereal (an unusual and delicious breakfast dish); and the finest for tabbouleh (a classic Middle-Eastern salad made with bulgur, chopped parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, olive oil, and lemon juice).

Availability

Packaged bulgur will be found near the rice or in the ethnic foods section of most supermarkets. For a wider selection of types of bulgur, shop at a health-food store or Middle Eastern grocery.

Shopping

Like all grain products, bulgur should be in a sealed package and have a freshness date. If there is no date, examine the package is not dusty or damaged.

Storage

Keep bulgur in its original package until you open it, then transfer it to a canister, jar, or other container with a tight lid. Store it at cool room temperature for up to a month, or in the refrigerator or freezer for longer storage.

Preparation

Because of the way bulgur is processed, it doesn't really need to be cooked, just steeped in boiling water. If your recipe does call for the bulgur to be cooked, simmer it over low heat, stirring often so it does not burn.

Steeping: Place the bulgur in a shallow dish and pour enough boiling water or broth over it to cover by 1/2" (about 2 cups liquid to 1 cup of bulgur). Cover the dish and let stand for at least 30 minutes, or until the bulgur has softened and absorbed the liquid. If necessary, drain off any excess liquid before continuing with the preparation of the dish.

Nutrition Chart

Bulgur/1/2 cup cooked

239
Total fat (g)
0.9
Saturated fat (g)
0.2
Monounsaturated fat (g)
0.1
Polyunsaturated fat (g)
0.4
Dietary fiber (g)
13
9
Carbohydrate (g)
53
Cholesterol (mg)
0
Sodium (mg)
12
Niacin (mg)
3.6
Magnesium (mg)
115
Manganese (mg)
2.1
Phosphorus (mg)
210


Date Published: 04/20/2005
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