After an experiment with familiar and homely barley I wanted my next grain experience to be rather more exotic. I had heard of neither farro nor amaranth nor wheatberries until this year and thus all three were tempting me with their mysterious allure. Which would be next? I considered researching each and making an informed choice but in the end I settled on the wheatberry because it has an exceptionally cute name.
After hours (minutes) searching the shelves of my local health food store, I started to worry that wheatberries were so very exotic they weren’t available up here in the Highlands. How wrong could I be? After asking the shop assistant for some assistance, I discovered this grain has been with me my whole life. It seems that wheatberry’s less adorable name is wheatgrain and it’s just wheat. Refined, most folk consume it daily in breads and cakes and beers; unrefined, it is the same stuff that I chew on whilst walking through fields. So much for exotica!
I’m not complaining though. I adored this grain! Wheatberries are chewy, they’re nutty, they’re nutritious and they are ridiculously filling.
I usually use the following spices in a couscous dish but found that the light, tangy flavours balanced the heaviness of the wheatgrain really well.
Spiced Wheatberry Salad
(serves 4 as a side)
250g wheatberries, soaked for at least four hours
2 tblpsn olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 green chilli, finely chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
Handful of coriander, chopped
- Cook the wheatberries in plenty of salted, boiling water until they plump up (anywhere between 1 and 3 hours).
- Heat oil gently in a pan. Add cumin, coriander, paprika and garlic. Cook gently for two minutes.
- Add the cooked wheatberries and all other ingredients to the spices. Combine well.
- Serve at room temperature.
I did take a picture of the above salad but appear to have deleted it. Will leave you instead with this picture of the flowers D brought me this week because I wasn’t feeling well. Don’t you think the front-left one looks like a cabbage? Well, I did and moments after being presented with the bouquet I bit a chunk out of it. It wasn’t a cabbage and didn’t taste very nice. Also, by the horrified look on D’s face, I shouldn’t expect flowers again any time soon.