About the cereal
Cereals are monocotyledonous herbaceous plants of the botanical family Poaceae. They are grown for their edible seeds called caryopses. The first cereal was domesticated about 12,000 years ago by the farming communities of the Fertile Crescent. Several experts argue that starch, ewe and barley are the first three cereals to be domesticated.
Grown in large quantities, cereals are the main source of energy foods in the world. In some developing countries, cereals such as millet or maize are the staple foods. In developed countries, cereal consumption is moderate but varied.
Different types of cereal
There is a large number of cereals, but only a small number are intensively cultivated, the others are cultivated marginally by rural communities.
Corn is the staple food of many people in the Americas and Africa. Much of the maize crop is grown for purposes other than human consumption. For example, corn is used as feed in farms around the world.
Rice is the main cereal of the tropics and some temperate regions. It is the staple food in most parts of Brazil, having replaced maize and cassava .
Wheat is the main cereal of temperate regions. Consumption all over the world, it is the staple food in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and most of the Middle East countries. The second largest cereal include barley, sorghum , millet, oats, rye , triticale, buckwheat, fonio and quinoa .
In their natural form, cereals are an important source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. However, when they are refined, they lose most of the other nutrients, and consist only of carbohydrates.
Some cereals are low in lysine, an essential amino acid. That’s why many vegetarians combine their diet with legumes to get a balanced diet. Many legumes are deficient in methionine, another essential amino acid. For example, a combination of legumes and cereals is a well-balanced diet for vegetarians.
Although each species has its own peculiarities, cereal cultivation is similar in many ways. These annuals are hardy and grow well in moderate weather conditions. Warm season cereals are grown in the tropical lowlands all year round and in temperate climates during the summer and spring. Rice is usually grown in flooded fields, although some strains are grown on land.
Various cereals such as sorghum and millet are adapted to arid conditions. Fresh season cereals are well adapted to temperate climates. Most varieties of the same species are adapted to winter while others are spring varieties. The former are sown in the fall, germinate, grow, and dormant during the winter. They resume their growth and mature in late spring or early summer.