Wheat Berries: How To Use This Healthy Grain
Wheat berries are a terrific addition to your healthy eating plan. They are actually entire wheat kernels, except for the husk - whole wheat flour is made by milling them. Like rice, wheat berries are short, and cook in about 20 minutes.
A serving equals 1/4 cup dry kernels. And since nearly all the kernel is intact, each one contains an array of nutrients. They are low in fat and on their own contain no sugars or sodium.
Wheat Berry Nutrition
What It Does For The Body
Amount per Serving
Keeps digestive tract healthy, Lowers cholesterol
Ensures delivery of oxygen to body, Increases immunity to infections
8 % daily allowance
Creates & repairs of body tissue, Produces needed hormones & enzymes
Regulates blood pressure, Helps prevent certain types of diabetes
Moderates blood sugar levels, Maintains muscle & nerve functions
Wheat Berries Info
- Several types of wheat berries are available in your local grocery store's organic section. Their names are based on which growing season they come from (winter or spring), their color (red or white), and whether they are hard or soft kernels. You can interchange them in dishes or recipes.
- Wheat berries need to be stored in cool and dry place. Putting them in your fridge will help them keep longer, even up to a year.
- You can make your own wheat flour simply by grinding wheat berries in your blender or food processor for 2-3 minutes.
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Cooking With Wheat Berries
Like other grains, wheat berries are easy to use in a variety of ways. You can prepare a large batch one day and use it during the week.
Pour 1 cup of berries into a pan, and cover with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium low. Cover and let the wheat berries simmer for about 15-20 minutes. When done, they will be tender and a little chewy.
Ideas For Using Wheat Berries
- Make breakfast cereal by preparing a batch with milk instead of water. Add sliced fruit and almonds for a meal that will keep you satisfied through the morning.
- Create a lunch salad: saute 1/2 cup of diced sweet onion, green and red pepper. Combine with cooked wheat berries, and top with a dressing made from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, some grated lemon rind and black pepper.
- Replace rice with berries as a dinner side dish. It's mild but warm flavor compliments most every main ingredient, from fish to beef.
- Add some cooked berries into soup to instantly make it heartier.
Recipe: Wheat Berry Apple Muffins
I wondered how wheat berries would work in muffins. With their nutty flavor, I thought they'd go well with apples, so I created a simple recipe incorporating both. I used winter red berries, but you could use white as well. These came out dense but firm - and the flavor got a "thumbs-up" from my favorite taste testers at home!
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- 1/2 cup wheat berries, cooked and cooled
- 3/4 cup wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup low fat milk
- 1/2 golden delicious apple, chopped into small pieces
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp raisins
- In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add in the egg, milk, berries, apple, honey and raisins. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Let the batter sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line or spread oil into 6 regular-size muffin cups. Spoon equal portions into each. Bake for 20 minutes, until they are firm and start to brown on top.
- Let them cool for a couple of moments in the tins, then remove them to a rack to fully cool.