Freekeh: The next hot supergrain?

Just when you finally learned how to correctly pronounce quinoa (keen-wa), another new grain comes along with an odd sounding name, touting its health benefits. We’re talking about freekeh (freak-eh). What is it?

Well, freekeh is wheat, but it’s wheat that has been harvested when it’s still young and green, and then it gets roasted. The flavour is similar to bulgur wheat, but with a grassier note. It’s similar to barley in texture and flavour, though some think it has a smokiness to it.

Why is green wheat any different than regular wheat? Australian researchers with CSIRO (its national government body for scientific research) have found that because it’s harvested when it’s young, the grain retains more protein, fibre and minerals than in mature wheat.

Freekeh also ranks low on the glycemic index. And if you compare the fibre content of freekeh to other ‘super’ grains, it blows them out of the water, with three times as much fibre as brown rice and twice as much as quinoa. What’s more, freekeh contains resistant starch, which is a type of carbohydrate that acts like a fibre and also helps satiety.

Freekeh comes in both whole and cracked forms. Accoringding to a report in the Huffington Post, it’s still a bit of a challenge to find in most US grocery stores, but it can be found in the grain aisles at places like Whole Foods Market, Wegmans and independent health-food stores, but with a steep, but not extortionate price, unlike some so called ‘superfoods’.

Another benefit of green wheat – at least the cracked kind – is that it cooks up relatively quickly compared to many whole grains – in just 20 minutes. Ite used in place of brown rice or barley in dishes like pilafs, risottos and salads. With its chewy texture, whole cooked freekeh is also said to be a good addition to yohurt, with a toss of honey, and fruit in a parfait.

Source: Huffington Post