Couscous is high in carbohydrates, making it a poor choice for people who have diabetes, celiac disease, or gluten intolerance other than celiac disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. In addition, it contains fewer essential nutrients than other foods.
Couscous is a dried and cracked semolina pasta that cooks quickly, similar to tiny pasta. Its nutty, sweet flavour complements stews, braises, and grilled or roasted vegetables perfectly. However, as cous cous enters the mainstream, numerous errors and crimes against cous cous are committed.
Couscous, once considered a North African delicacy, is now eaten worldwide. Indeed, it is readily available on the shelves of the majority of grocery stores. It is a grain product processed from tiny balls of durum wheat or semolina flour. Cou scous comes in three varieties: Moroccan, Israeli, and Lebanese. Moroccan cous-cous is the smallest and most accessible variety.
Israeli couscous, also known as pearl cous-cous, is about the size of peppercorns and requires more time to cook. It typically has a more nutty flavour and a chewier texture. The Lebanese cous-cous is the largest of the three and requires the most time to cook.
Must Read: Difference Between Quinoa And Couscous
How To Tell Bad Couscous?
- It’s infested: If you find any pantry bugs, insects, moths dead or alive, the cous-cous is toast.
It smells stale, rancid, musty, or otherwise foul.
- If the food smells bad, it’s time to throw it out: Dry couscous can have a pleasant smell but a stench after cooking. If so, toss the rest of the grains.
- The package has mould:
- It’s cooked and refrigerated for a week: Cooked couscous only lasts a week and is no longer safe to eat.
- Sour: If it doesn’t taste right, assume it’s spoiled.
Cautions Regarding the Consumption of Couscous
While couscous is nutrient-dense, it is not for everyone.
Durum wheat endosperm is ground to make semolina flour. It’s a high-gluten product. The semolina flour in couscous contains gluten. Gluten intolerance or allergy sufferers should avoid it. Though only 1% of the population has celiac disease, 0.5 to13% of people have non-celiac gluten sensibility. Consumption of couscous may be harmful to these people.
Could Boost Blood Sugar
Though low in protein, couscous is high in carbs, with 36 grammes per cup (157 grams). Those with diabetes or blood sugar issues should avoid high-carb foods. These foods may cause a blood sugar spike, resulting in adverse health effects (20Trusted Source). Consuming couscous with other protein sources or soluble fibre foods helps balance blood sugar levels.
Lower in Nutrients
It has some fibre, potassium, and other nutrients but isn’t a good source. Whole grain and wheat fibre act as prebiotics to help improve digestion and gut health. Couscous is higher in fibre than quinoa.
Potassium-rich diets have been shown to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of stroke. While cous-cous has some potassium, fruits and vegetables like avocado, bananas, and potatoes are far better sources.
How To Tell If Couscous Is Bad/Fresh?
Bad couscous has many signs. What to look for:
- Smell: Sniff the couscous before using it. Because the oils inside the cous-cous are exposed to oxygen, rancid cous-cous has a distinct smell like wet cardboard or wood varnish.
- Taste: Sour couscous has a similar taste. If unsure, give it a quick bite. You’re probably fine if it tastes good. If not, toss it.
- Bugs: If you find live or dead insects in your cous-cous, like moths or weevils, throw it out. Bugs are gross and can contaminate food.
- Mould: Toxins in the air cause mould growth on your cous-cous. It grows on moist foods, so it could be a sign you’re not storing it properly.
- Time: Couscous should be thrown out after a week in the fridge. Even if it looks good, one week in the refrigerator is too long.
But even though it has numerous health and nutritional advantages, it may not be the best carbohydrate choice for everyone in every situation. It contains gluten, which makes it inaccessible to some people. It also has fewer nutrients than whole grains of a similar nutritional value.