Grain facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Various grains
Oats, barley, and some products made from them

Grain is the seeds of some special kinds of grass. The main types of commercial grain crops are cereals. People grow different kinds of grain as food. The different kinds of grain are perhaps one of the most important foods in the world.

Some kinds of grain are:

87% of all grain grown by farmers around the world is maize. Grains contain carbohydrates that people can eat. In poorer countries, grains are a large part of the food supply. In richer countries, they are still important as food, but not as important as in poorer countries. Growing grain uses a lot of water. About 1,000 tons of water is needed to grow one ton of grain.

Many different foods are made from different types of grain. Grain is often ground into a powder called flour. Flour can be made into breads, cakes, or noodles.

Different kinds of beer are made from barley malt, wheat, and other grains.

Tortillas are made from a special flour of maize (corn) called masa.

Classification

Cereal grains

Dinrêyes
Cereal grain seeds from left to right: wheat, spelt, barley, oat.

All cereal crops are members of the grass family (Poaceae). Cereal grains contain a substantial amount of starch, a carbohydrate that provides dietary energy.

Warm-season cereals

  • finger millet
  • fonio
  • foxtail millet
  • Japanese millet
  • Job's tears
  • kodo millet
  • maize (corn)
  • millet
  • pearl millet
  • proso millet
  • sorghum

Cool-season cereals

Rye grains
Rye grains
Rice grains (IRRI)
Rice grains by the IRRI

Pseudocereal grains

Starchy grains from broadleaf (dicot) plant families:

Pulses

Pulses or grain legumes, members of the pea family, have a higher protein content than most other plant foods, at around 20%, while soybeans have as much as 35%. As is the case with all other whole plant foods, pulses also contain carbohydrate and fat. Common pulses include:

  • chickpeas
  • common beans
  • common peas (garden peas)
  • fava beans
  • lentils
  • lima beans
  • lupins
  • mung beans
  • peanuts
  • pigeon peas
  • runner beans
  • soybeans

Oilseeds

Oilseed grains are grown primarily for the extraction of their edible oil. Vegetable oils provide dietary energy and some essential fatty acids. They are also used as fuel and lubricants.

Mustard family

Canola
Rapeseed

Aster family

Sunflowers seeds
Sunflower seeds
  • safflower
  • sunflower seed

Other families

Grains, nuts, pulses
Grains, nuts, pulses

Grain Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.