Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wheat Berries

Wheat berries are cooked kernels of wheat. There are many ways to use wheat berries in order to incorporate them into your daily cooking and eating routine. I was first exposed to wheat berries in a few different ways. I went to a workshop on using food storage. I want to tell you about some ways I learned of to use the cooked wheat berries.
1) One of the items we taste-tested was chili with cooked wheat berries added along with the ground beef. This is an easy way to disguise your wheat berries. They taste good and are really hard to notice unless you are looking for them.
2) We were served wheat berries in a little cup with concentrated apple juice or fruit punch concentrate poured over them. This was a fun little snack.
3) We tried a taco salad, again with wheat berries added in with the ground beef and seasonings, topped with Tortilla chips, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and salsa. It tasted great. I was looking for them but otherwise I may not have noticed.
4) As croutons for a salad, these little guys are really good. Just put about a 1/2" layer of oil into a frying pan. Heat it hot enough to fry berries. Add about ½ cup wheat berries (already cooked wheat) and stir to toast berries evenly. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning; buttermilk ranch dressing mix, barbecue spice, parmesan and garlic or any other seasonings of your choice.
5) These are a great snack, prepared as above and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
6)Prepare as above by cooking in the oil and make a snack mix by salting lightly and adding your other favorite snacks to the mix; nuts, Craisins, M&M’s, pretzels, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips or any combination that you like.
7) Cook the wheat berries and serve warm or cold with milk and a little sugar for breakfast. Add in fresh or dried fruit for variety.

It’s important to remember that when you are not used to eating a lot of whole wheat, it should be introduced into the diet gradually. Cook some wheat and keep the berries in you fridge for a few days looking for different ways to use them in your cooking or snacking. It’s a fun experiment. Here are some alternative ways to cook your berries.

Crock Pot Wheat Berries
1 c. wheat (1 part)
2 c. water (2 parts)
Put in crock pot on low all day or overnight. For breakfast, add milk along with fresh or dried fruit, cinnamon, honey or brown sugar. Add cooked berries to your yogurt for a fun alternative.

Thermos Cooking Wheat
1 cup whole wheat kernels
1 quart boiling water
Put wheat into thermos and add boiling water. Tighten lid and let sit for a few hours or lay on the counter overnight. Strain water off and serve with milk and honey or sugar for breakfast. Refrigerate leftover berries or other uses.

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