Monday, June 15, 2009

Whole Wheat Berries

These whole kernels need soaking or steam cooking to become tender. When cooked, they have a sweet, nut-like flavor and a slightly chewy texture. There are many ways to prepare dishes with wheat berries, - so experiment!

The versatility of wheat berries is demonstrated in recipes from cereals to breads, to casserole and to stuffing for chicken or turkey. These recipes call for cooked wheat berries. Wheat berries can be prepared ahead of time and the ready-to-use cooked wheat may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1 week. They can also be frozen.

Wheat berries are probably the easiest whole wheat food to prepare, and certainly ranks as one of the most versatile foods in use. None of the measurements are critical, and there’s no worry about with stirring, continual watching, etc.

Wheat berries can be made from whole wheat kernels or cracked wheat and can be used to replace rice in most dishes; they can also be substituted for mashed potatoes.

To make wheat berries: In a pot with a fairly tight lid, combine 3 cups of water, and 1 cup of wheat. Bring to a boil. Allow to simmer ½ hour. Turn off the heat and allow the wheat to stand 8-12 hours. Drain any remaining liquid. Use or store in refrigerator, tightly covered, for no more than one week.

Thermos cooked: Put wheat and 2½ cups boiling water in a quart-sized thermos. Screw the top lightly and leave until morning.

Slow cooker method: Simmer ingredients on high for approximately 2-3 hours. Turn off the slow cooker and let it sit overnight untouched.

This brings back memories of growing up. Quite often my mom would have cooked wheat in the crockpot ready for breakfast. Sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar, and top with milk. It makes a delicious hot breakfast.

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