You read that right; wheat berries are a whole grain food! Whole grains (or foods made from whole grains) contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. You can learn more about whole grains here.
What are wheatberries?
Simply put, wheatberries are whole wheat kernels. They are what grain companies’ mill to produce whole wheat flours for baking.
Once boiled, cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and slight nutty flavor. They’re tough enough to hold their texture when exposed to salad dressings or soups (they won’t get soggy) yet subtle enough to taste delightful plain.
Nutrition and health
Not only do these kernels taste delicious, they are packed full of valuable nutrients for our health. A half cup of cooked wheatberries contain about 160 calories and are loaded with fiber, protein and iron. They also contribute to our daily needs of B vitamins and potassium (170 mg/half cup.)
How to prepare wheatberries
You can find wheatberries in the natural foods section of the supermarket or at a health food store. You’ll need to boil them for 1 hour to soften the kernels which will result in their chewy texture. Once cooked, they taste great alone or they can be mixed into soups, salads or chili recipes. They can also be made into hearty cereals or used in recipes for making breads or muffins. I enjoy making wheatberry salads then adding in a protein (such as pieces of pork, chicken or feta cheese) to make a complete meal.
Try this Blueberry-Wheatberry Salad
Yield: 6 cups (12 servings of ½ cup each)1 ½ cups hard winter wheatberries 1 ½ cups blue berries ¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted 1 rib celery, finely chopped ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 2 scallion (can sub green onions), chopped 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil ¼ tsp salt Rinse & drain the wheatberries. In a large saucepan, cover wheatberries with ~2 inches of water; bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer & cook until chewy (about 1 hour.) Darin and allow to cool.
Place cooked, cooled wheatberries in a large bowl; stir in celery, parsley, scallions, lemon juice, oil & salt. Add blueberries and walnuts; toss to combine.