Wonderful Wheat Berries

Well, we have been collecting wheat berries and barley for a while now from our Farm Share.  They require a little work: soaking overnight in water and then boiling for about an hour when ready to prepare, so every time I thought to use them in a meal was too short notice.

I took the time this past weekend to do the soaking and boiling (which really is not labor intensive at all, you just have to be home to check on the berries as they boil) and we ate our first batch of wheat berries with breakfast this morning.  We both really enjoyed the addition it made to our oatmeal, and now I'm really excited to add our batch of cooked wheat berries to different dishes.  You can do so many different things with them; I included a couple recipes below to illustrate their versatility.  

Our batch of wheat berries before soaking overnight.  I prepared a pretty large amount so we would have enough to eat in different meals throughout the week (and to make a dent in our supply).

The boiling begins...

I love to throw apples into our oatmeal.  These are our Farm Share apples from this week.

And the finished product: oatmeal with wheat berries (1:1 ratio) and apples (and cinnamon and brown sugar, of course!)

Cooking Wheat Berries
(These directions are for 3/4 c. wheat berries.)

Place wheat berries in heavy medium saucepan.  Add enough cold water to saucepan to cover wheat berries by 3 inches.  Let stand overnight.  Drain.

Bring 4 c. water, wheat berries and 3/4 tsp. salt to boil in same saucepan.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until wheat berries are tender but still slightly firm to bite, about 1 hour.  Drain.

Wheat Berry Salad
(Recipe compliments of one of my best friends.  This would be a great addition to a green lettuce salad.)

1.5 c. wheat berries
4-5 scallions, chopped
1 c. chopped peaches (substitute apples in the Fall/Winter)
1/2 c. currants
1/4 c. toasted sunflower seeds
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbs. sesame oil

Cook wheat berries, then in large bowl, combine cooked berries with scallions, apples, currants, and toasted sunflower seeds.  Toss with lime juice, toasted sesame oil, and pinch of salt.  Serve room temperature or chilled.

Rice and Wheat Berry Pilaf with Baby Spinach
(Recipe from Bon Appétit, via Epicurious.com)

3/4 c. wheat berries
5 3/4 c. water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil
3/4 c. basmati rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
16-oz baby spinach leaves 

Cook wheat berries per directions above.

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.  Add rice and garlic; stir 1 minute.  Stir in remaining 1 3/4 c. water and 3/4 tsp salt; bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until liquid is almost absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.  Add spinach and cooked wheat berries; stir until spinach wilts and wheat berries are heated through, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.

1 comment:

  1. Of course, I cook wheat berries quite often for making koliva. After years of dealing with soaking and boiling, I finally figured out just a few years ago that they cook GREAT in the crockpot. I put a couple cups in the crockpot at night and then cover them with water up to the top. Cook overnight on high for 8-10 hours. In the morning I just drain them and they are perfect for mixing with nuts, fruit and honey. Sometimes I do the same for dinner and mix with garlic, potatoes, etc. Barley does well in the crockpot, too. (I did it accidentally one time, thinking I had bought wheat berries! :))