What’s small, reddish brown, has a nutty flavor and is packed full of nutrients? Wheat berries, of course! If you haven’t discovered them yet, put them at the top of the list for your next food shopping trip.
Wheat berries are the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull) comprising the bran, germ and endosperm. They have a tan to reddish brown color and are available as either a hard or soft grain. Normally the grain kernels are milled into flour, but you will be surprised at the number of ways in which the cooked berries themselves can be used in recipes. Look for wheat berries at a health food store, in the natural foods section of your local supermarket, or online.
As a whole grain they’re loaded with nutrients. A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with vitamins, fiber, protein and iron.
Wheat berries are versatile enough to eat at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor.
- Use as a hot breakfast cereal with milk, honey and cinnamon
- Add them to salads or use in baked goods to add a crunchy texture
- Use as you would rice
- Add cooked wheat berries to soups or even chili
- Serve hot as a side dish
Wheat berries are as easy as rice to prepare.
2 cups wheat berries
7 cups cold water
1 teaspoon salt
(makes about 4-1/2 cups)
Rinse wheat berries well under cool running water. Place in a large heavy saucepan. Add water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse.
Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days; freeze for up to 1 month.
For more than just the basics, try the Wheat Foods Council’s Heart Healthy Artichoke Wheat Berry Salad.