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
- 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
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (I used blueberry balsamic!)
- pinch sea salt and pepper
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
QUESTION: Have you ever tried wheat berries?