Wheat germ is a food that's easy to overlook. The name leaves something to be desired, and it has a bit of a reputation for being a boring, tasteless health food. In reality, it's nutty, flavorful and rich in protein, potassium and vitamin E. Classically, it's eaten like a warm cereal, but there are many ways to enjoy this nutrient powerhouse. Toasting it brings out its nutty flavor, which makes it a nutrition-boosting addition to salads, soups, yogurt, smoothies and cereals. Once stirred into foods such as ice cream, cookies, muffins and pudding, wheat germ hides out, providing a sneaky way to get healthy food into your kids. Toasting takes only a few minutes.
In the Oven
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread 1/4 to 1/2 cup of wheat germ evenly over the bottom of a cookie sheet or casserole dish. Shake the pan back and forth to help the wheat germ spread evenly in a thin layer.
Bake for three to five minutes, watching for the wheat germ to just start to darken. Shake the pan and cook for an additional two minutes to ensure even toasting.
Keep your wheat germ from turning rancid by storing it in a cool, dark place. If you know you're not going to eat it all within a couple of weeks, store the toasted wheat germ in the fridge.
On the Stovetop
Use a non-stick skillet or add a teaspoon of your favorite cooking oil to a skillet without non-stick coating.
Place the pan over high heat until it gets hot or you see the oil start to smoke, then reduce heat to medium.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of wheat germ to the pan.
Stir the wheat germ or shake the skillet back and forth to ensure that the wheat germ toasts evenly.
Cook until the wheat germ releases a nutty smell and darkens in color -- usually about five minutes.
Toasted wheat germ has a nuttier, more complex flavor than raw wheat germ and will stand out more in dishes. It punches up plain oatmeal and is great sprinkled on peanut butter toast or waffles with syrup. Baking with it is easy; just substitute 2-4 tablespoons of toasted wheat germ for flour in a full batch of any recipe.
Remove the toasted wheat germ from the pan immediately so the hot pan doesn't scorch or burn it. Use the wheat germ immediately or store in an airtight container and use within a few days.
Keep your eye on the wheat germ during the entire process. It only takes a moment for the wheat germ to go from perfect to burnt.