Monday, August 8, 2011

Wheat Berries, A New Favorite Whole Grain!

On my low FODMAPs diet I am not really supposed to eat wheat, but I've found that I can handle wheat in the form of beer (thank goodness!), or in very unrefined forms, such as wheat berries.



So what exactly is a wheat berry? Wikepedia explains it well (as always);

The term wheatberry or wheat berry refers to the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), comprising the bran, germ, and endosperm. Wheatberries have a tan to reddish brown color and are available as either a hard or soft processed grain. They are often added to salads or baked into bread to add a crunchy texture; as a whole grain, they also provide nutritional benefits since they are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

So like I said above, they are unrefined and they are the quintessential whole grain. As far as nutrition is concerned, they provide about 6 grams of fiber and protein per one-fourth cup (uncooked) and about 150 calories. They also contain about 8 percent of the daily value for iron, per one-fourth cup. Before you make a dish with wheat berries, be sure to plan ahead, as they take about an hour to cook. They are very similar to rice in that they do expand, but not a whole lot (I consider quinoa a grain that expands a lot). So the one-fourth cup uncooked is more like one-fourth cup, and a couple tablespoons, cooked.

This is what they look like before they are cooked (you have to rinse them first).


After cooking, they look like this (very similar)




I had never heard of wheat berries until this year, actually, and it took me this long to finally buy some and use them in a recipe. We recently had guests over for dinner and I made this recipe from FoodDoodles.com. As always, I made a couple small modifications;


Summer Vegetable Wheat Berry Salad
Serves two
Ingredients
  • 1/2 C cooked and cooled wheat berries
  • 1 C snap peas, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium Roma tomato (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • a small handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 C cucumber cut into bite sized pieces
Dressing
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (I used blueberry balsamic!)
  • pinch sea salt and pepper

Directions
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Chop all veggies to small bite sized pieces and place in a bowl with the wheat berries and parsley and then mix in the dressing. Then store in the fridge until ready to eat, or serve right away.

The salad was pretty good, but not amazing. I think it needed a bit more salt and pepper. Also, the snap peas I used were not very fresh, which was my fault. I will definitely make this again, but next time I will add a bit more salt, a lot more pepper, and I'll use our home-grown tomatoes!

Nutrition Facts
1/2 cup serving
(source: caloriecount.com)



QUESTION: Have you ever tried wheat berries?

I want to give a quick shout out to Chava of Food for Laughter. I had a great time with you yesterday! I'm happy to say my second blogger meet-up was quite a success :)

19 comments :

  1. yum! i recently discovered wheatberries too. i like them in my yogurt. and i made wheatberry fried rice that was great!

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  2. I love wheatberries! I love to use them in breakfasts-- mixed in with oatmeal or yogurt for some extra chew!

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  3. I love wheatberries! I've yet to try them for breakfast but I love them greek style - with feta, roasted red pepper, and artichokes.

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  4. I love wheat berries and make a very similar salad. Actually, I just add them to different salads to turn them into more of a meal.

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  5. I love how chewy wheat berries are! The ones I use at home we actually grew and harvested ourselves when I was younger... Awesome homeschool 'science' class... I guess :) have a great week girl!

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  6. Hi Gina, I've never tried wheat berries, but have seen folks blog about them, so I'm going to give them a go soon!!!! Have a great Monday.

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  7. Yum, i love the nutty texture of wheat berries! My college cafeteria used to frequently have wheat berry salads in the salad bar so I've been eating them for a while.

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  8. I love the fact that wheat berries are very minimally processed. I can't say I enjoy them as much as other grains because they are so darn chewy, but I do enjoy them occasionally as a nice change of pace. I made a breakfast cereal a little while ago where I pulsed them in the food processor. That was pretty good, tasted kind of like Wheatina, if you've heard of that.

    Good that you can still drink beer :)

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  9. I've had wheat berries in Uncle Sam cereal, which is delicious. I had not heard of them until this year either also! Good to know that it was not just me!

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  10. love love love wheatberries and there are tons of great recipes out there. I usually just use it as a sub for rice or added to salad or used as a dip, oh the options are endless.

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  11. I love wheatberries for their chew - makes a great salad base or a nice addition to oatmeal. I wish I ate them more often, but because of the long cooking time, I forget about them because I'm looking for something right then and there.

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  12. Love how chewy wheat berries are. I made a wheat berry salad with asparagus and currants that was fantastic! Whole Foods always has great wheat berry salads in their prepared food section - I check out their ingredients then recreate them cheaper at home ;)

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  13. CONGRATS to you & Nick!!!

    I'm so glad you and Chava had fun :) And I love wheat berries - had them for dinner last night and leftovers for lunch today :)

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  14. Forget about wheat berries... Let's open up a bottle and celebrate! Congratulations!

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  15. This looks like a healthy and delicious dish. Love trying new things!

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  16. yay for fun blogger meetups! are you coming to new york to meet up with me OR WHAT! also WHEN IS NICK GOING TO PROPOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahaha anyways can you please update me with your wedding planning. and also thanks to you and your low fodmaps persuasion my stomach is amazingness! i had to cut out a lot of dairy but with no onions, garlic and corny type things i'm a grade a person. YOU'RE MY BOY BLUE!

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  17. I want to try wheat berries SO badly!! Those nutrition stats are bomb.

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  18. Used to love wheatberries (don't eat wheat anymore). I used to make them in a salad with feta, they need stronger flavors. Um did I read congratulations are in order? Good luck, can't wait to hear more.

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  19. Gina, you are too sweet... :-) I had SUCH a great time too!! :-) Can't wait 'til next time!! :-) Thank you for posting about wheat berries, too, because after you mentioned them on Sunday I've been super eager to try them - and now I have this gorgeous recipe and cooking instructions to guide me, thanks to you! Yay! :-)

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