cereal


cereal
/sear"ee euhl/, n.
1. any plant of the grass family yielding an edible grain, as wheat, rye, oats, rice, or corn.
2. the grain itself.
3. some edible preparation of it, esp. a breakfast food.
adj.
4. of or pertaining to grain or the plants producing it.
[1590-1600; < L Cerealis of, pertaining to CERES; see -AL1]

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I
Prepared foodstuff of cereal grain.

Cereals are used for both human and animal food. The first step in making cereal is milling, grinding the grain so that it can be easily processed. Modern automated systems employ steel cylinders, followed by air purification and numerous sievings to separate the endosperm from the outer coverings and the germ; corn is milled by wet processes. Cereal products include minimally processed whole, crushed, or rolled grains, flour, cornstarch, meal (coarsely ground and unsifted grain), and pasta. Breakfast cereals include raw cereals such as oatmeal and farina (which must be boiled), shredded cereals (usually whole wheat that is boiled, dried, and cut), flaked cereals (usually corn that is broken down into grits and cooked under pressure with flavoring syrup before being pressed and toasted), puffed cereals (grains heated in a pressure chamber and then released to cause expansion), and granular cereals (flour-based cereals made from dough that is cooked and ground into small bits). All cereals are high in starch.
II

Any grass yielding starchy seeds suitable for food.

The most commonly cultivated cereals are wheat, rice, rye, oats, barley, corn, and sorghum. As human food, cereals are usually marketed in raw grain form or as ingredients of food products. As animal feed, they are consumed mainly by livestock and poultry, which are eventually rendered as meat, dairy, and poultry products for human consumption. They also are used industrially in the production of a wide range of substances, such as glucose, adhesives, oils, and alcohols. Measured in acres planted, wheat is the world's most widely grown cereal crop; rice is the second, but more corn is harvested than either. Grains are generally rich in carbohydrates and energy value but comparatively low in protein and naturally deficient in calcium and vitamin A. Breads are usually enriched to compensate for any nutritional deficiencies in the cereal used. Though often consumed in the areas where grown, cereal and cereal by-products are also major commodities in international trade.
III
(as used in expressions)

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also called  grain 
 any grass yielding starchy seeds suitable for food. The cereals most commonly cultivated are wheat, rice, rye, oats, barley, corn (maize), and sorghum.

      A brief treatment of cereals follows. For fuller treatments, see cereal farming; cereal processing.

      As human food, cereals are usually marketed in their raw grain form (some are frozen or canned) or as ingredients of various food products; as animal feed, they are consumed mainly by livestock and poultry, which are eventually rendered as meat, dairy, and poultry products for human consumption; and they are used industrially in the production of a wide range of substances, such as glucose, adhesives, oils, and alcohols.

       wheat is the world's most widely grown cereal, in addition to being one of the oldest grains grown. It is believed to have been milled 75,000 years ago. In modern times, wheat is used to produce meal, breakfast cereals, and flour for bakery products. It can be cultivated in a wide range of soils but thrives in temperate climates.

       rice is the second largest cereal crop and is a staple food in all areas of Asia, which yields about nine-tenths of the world's total rice production. Unlike wheat, which is generally raised on large farms and harvested mechanically, rice is usually grown on small paddies and harvested by hand. Cultivation methods have changed little over the centuries; the paddies are inundated with water, usually up to about 6 inches (15 cm), then drained and dried just before harvest. Most rice is milled for direct, local consumption. Other products in which rice is used are breakfast cereals and such alcoholic beverages as Japanese sake.

       rye is the second most widely used cereal (after wheat) for bread making, although its gross production is less than one-fifteenth that of wheat. It is also used in other bakery products and in distilled liquors. Rye can be grown on relatively poor soils and is able to survive more severe winters than most grains. Poland is one of the world's largest rye producers.

       oats are grown in most of the temperate regions of the world, especially in the United States, Canada, and northern Europe. Most of the oats produced are used in animal feed, although they may also be processed for human consumption.

       barley is also grown in temperate climates; it does not need especially rich soils. Most barley is used for animal feed. It is also the source of the malt used in both the brewing of beer and the distillation of alcoholic beverages. Barley malt is also a constituent of vinegar and breakfast foods.

       corn, or maize, was originally produced in the Western Hemisphere by Indians and was then carried to Europe by the early explorers. Today it is a major crop cultivated in most temperate climates, although the United States is by far the single largest producer. For human consumption, corn is consumed as a fresh food, is canned or frozen, or is processed into corn flour, corn oil, and other by-products. It is a very important animal feed as well.

       sorghum, also called milo, is principally grown for use as animal feed.

      Most grains have similar dietary properties; they are rich in carbohydrates and energy value but comparatively low in protein and naturally deficient in calcium and vitamin A. Breads are usually enriched in order to compensate for any nutritional deficiencies in the cereal used.

      Cereal and cereal by-products are often consumed in the areas in which they are grown, but they are also major commodities in international trade.

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Universalium. 2010.

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