toasted or untoasted wheatgerm

Toasted or untoasted wheat germ

I was wondering if raw untoasted wheat germ is more nutritious than toasted wheat germ. They taste a little different — toasting brings out the nutty flavor — and health purists may prefer the raw untoasted wheat germ. But both supply protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

What is wheat germ?

Wheat germ is the embryo part of the wheat kernel or seed. It has all the vital nutrients needed to produce a sprout of wheat. If you soak a wheat kernel in water and keep it moist, a sprout will emerge at the germ. This “germ” has a high concentration of nutrients to support growth. That’s why it’s good for you. When wheat kernels are milled into flour, the wheat germ is easily separated from the other parts of the flour. In this form it’s called raw wheat germ. It is light-colored and flakey. When toasted, it becomes a golden brown color with a crunchy nutty flavor. Some people prefer the taste of the toasted wheatgerm.

wheat germ

Nutritional breakdown of wheatgerm

Wheat germ — toasted and untoasted — has a high concentration of folic acid, which is a necessary nutrient for all pregnant women to prevent neural-tube defects. It also contains small amounts of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. But don’t forget the protein and fiber in wheat germ. According to the USDA Nutrient Data Lab, the nutrients for toasted and untoasted wheat germ are about the same:4 tablespoons of toasted wheat germ provides approximately

  • 108 calories
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 3 grams fat
  • 8 grams protein

Uses for wheatgerm

Add wheat germ to your favorite hot breakfast cereals. Mix a tablespoon or two into hot oatmeal, steel-cut oats, cream of wheat, or seven-grain cereal. Sprinkle toasted wheat germ on fresh steamed vegetables and raw salads. You can add raw wheat germ to recipes for muffins, cookies, quick breads and yeast breads. When baking, only add about 4 tablespoons to a recipe and add an extra tablespoon of water. Next time you make a smoothie, add a tablespoon of toasted or untoasted wheat germ. Try adding it to a homemade granola recipe or favorite pancake mix. Another way to get wheat germ into your diet is to add a few tablespoons to a cup of yogurt with fruit.

Storage of wheatgerm

Take care when storing wheat germ because it has vital unsaturated fats that can become rancid. In fact, this is one of the reasons white flour has a long shelf-life — the wheat germ has been removed. Always check the expiration date when you purchase wheat germ and once opened, store it in the refrigerator for up to nine months. Use an air-tight glass jar, plastic bag or container with a good seal. The raw untoasted wheat germ can become rancid quicker than the toasted variety. It should not have a musty, rancid smell.

  • Just use freshly ground wheat flour and you’ll have all the wheat germ you need!

    • dannyR

      And the calories and gluten you don’t.

  • Lesley

    That pesky auto-correct is probably to blame for your use of ‘untested’ v ‘untoasted.’ Confusing only for an absolute nubie. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this article and especially liked the inclusion of the diagram. Have been trying to find out which is better, toasted or untoasted wheat germ, for optimal nutritional value. Have yet to come across a definitive answer. Will tag you for future reference, and look for you on FB, as well.

    • Lesley — LOL — ‘untested’ — thanks for the heads-up on that typo — autocorrect. I went back and fixed them! Pretty funny. Let me know if you find anything more about the wheat germs. thx.

  • dannyR

    One note: raw wheat germ, if you enjoy the ‘flavour’, produces obnoxious-smelling gas if you eat it in any quantity. The drawback of toasted is that only one company makes it, and it’s tricky to make yourself, burning happens at the slightest overheating, ruining the nutrition as well as the taste. Only commercial production allows for roasting free of the damaging oxygen in the air, and vacuum or nitrogen packaging.

    • Mister West

      Never had that gas issue!

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