Every time some new item gets discovered as the latest superfood, we find out that it has been around for thousands of years. It is usually new only to the Western kitchen, since we limited ourselves to several staple crops only. Frekkeh is a grain well known to the Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean peoples and is generously used for a range of dishes. We needed super-chefs like Jamie Oliver to discover it for us, and it is well worth it.
A grain with the twist
Freekeh is nothing more than durum wheat that is harvested while the kernels are green and young. Soft and full of moisture, unripe seeds are first sun-dried and then set on fire. Scorched kernels are then rubbed to get rid of burned husks and to enhance their greenish color, smoky flavor and rough texture. The process makes this fairly common grain super delicious, dense with nutrients and perfect as a side dish with any kind of meat.
The traditional way of cooking freekeh is similar to rice ” “ alone, as a side dish, or mixed with various vegetables, spices and meats. Look at some better Middle Eastern cookbooks for fresh ideas. You will love the smoky nutty flavor.
What makes freekeh a contender for the superfood title is the richness in nutrients:
- It has four times more fiber than brown rice.
- Freekeh gives you more protein than if harvested mature, and more than almost any other grain.
- It is excellent for the digestion because it is rich in prebiotics and probiotics.
- It is a rich source of zinc, iron, calcium and potassium.
- It is very low on glycemic index, what means that it might decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Check more details on the freekeh nutritional value in the CSIRO – Australia’s national science agency – Report.
The trick is finding this delicious grain in our supermarkets. Your best bet is health food stores and Middle Eastern ethnic food shops. Talk to your Middle Eastern friends and try to get them to share their recipes as well as the source of the grain.
Hopefully, as freekeh gains in popularity, it will be more easily available in regular stores. Australian company Greenwheat Freekeh developed a modern technology for processing the grain into freekeh. Their informative website also offers interesting recipes for preparing this old grain.