Cooking With Wheat // Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat is an important part of any emergency food supply. Did you know that it can be a part of your regular meals, too? In fact, experts suggest that you rotate through your emergency food supply, rather than just keeping it on the shelf.

When you are buying wheat, you’ll notice a few different varieties. Hard red and hard white work well for bread making. Soft red or soft white work better for pasta, cake, biscuits, crackers, and pastry flours.You might also see wheat classified as winter or spring. That simply refers to the time of year it was planted. You can read more about the types of wheat and how to store them by clicking here and here.

Once you buy wheat, what do you do with all of it? One way to use wheat is to grind it down to flour. You need a wheat grinder to do so. A simple Google search will help you find a grinder to buy. You can also easily find instructions on how to do it.

Perhaps the easiest way to use wheat in your cooking is to make wheat berries. You do this by soaking and steam cooking wheat kernels. When cooked, wheat has a sweet, nut-like flavor and a slightly chewy texture, making a perfect addition to soups, casseroles, sauces, cereals, and more!

There are a few different ways to make wheat berries:

Pot Method: Place all ingredients in saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover with lid, and cook about 1 hour or until wheat berries are plump, tender, and chewy. Drain any excess water still standing in the pot. If berries are not tender, but the water has a cooked out, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more water and keep cooking until they are soft.

Thermos Method: Put 1 cup of wheat and 2 1/2 cups boiling water in a quart-sized thermos. Screw the top on tightly and leave overnight.

Slow Cooker Method: Add 1 cup of wheat and 3 cups of water to a slow cooker. Cook on high for 2-3 hours. Turn off the slow cooker and let it sit overnight.

Once your berries are cooked using one of the methods above, drain any remaining liquid. Use the berries or place them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also freeze the berries. Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for several hours until frozen solid. Remove them from the cookie sheet and place them in an air-tight container. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to add wheat berries to a recipe, scoop what you need out of the container.

Wheat berry salad is a great recipe to try if you’re new to wheat berries.

Give it a try this week. Come on back and let me know if you liked it. Enjoy!

Candi Merritt

Certified Nutrition Education Assistant

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