Let’s explore the world of special ingredients together! We’ll do the research and make some mistakes in the kitchen so you don’t have to. Today, experiment with freekeh, an ancient grain that’s gaining serious popularity.
As the story goes, freekeh (pronounced freak-uh) is the result of a happy accident around 2,000 years ago in the Middle East. A field of young green wheat was set on fire during an attack. When local villagers returned to the scene, they discovered their crop was actually not ruined; when they rubbed away the charred outer coating, the inner grain was still edible, albeit lightly smoked.Freekeh Explained
The word “freekeh” means “to rub” in Arabic, which is where this grain got its name. Now freekeh is harvested while still young, then lightly roasted to get a subtle smoky, nutty flavor.
Today, freekeh is widely used in Northern Africa and the Middle East, and has recently made its way into Western food culture. Freekeh is high in fiber and iron, and is a good source of niacin, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
Freekeh is a wheat product, so it does contain a small amount of gluten and is not suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerances. Several brands of freekeh are available as organic, non-GMO Project verified and harvested in the US.
Try freekeh in place of your go-to grain for a quick and easy weeknight side dish or salad topper.
You can cook freekeh on the stovetop in a medium saucepan in about 20 minutes or soak it in water overnight in the fridge, and then heat when ready to use.
Store uncooked freekeh in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life.
Learn to Cook: Freekeh
Makes 4 cups
1 cup freekeh
2 1/2 cups water
Toast dry freekeh in a medium saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until liquid is absorbed and freekeh is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
Freekeh is extremely versatile, Here are some ways to start using it:
- Try our Tomato Basil Freekeh Salad, which is a great introduction to working with this grain.
- Serve it plain alongside grilled fish or chicken.
- Try in place of barley or rice in soups and stews, like in this Tomato Bulgur Soup with Warm Spices.
- Add cooked freekeh to your favorite veggie burger recipe.
- Cook freekeh in almondmilk for a chewy alternative to your morning oatmeal.
What’s your favorite alternative grain and how do you use it?