Stuck in a pasta and rice rut? Once you learn how easy it is to cook flavorful, nutrient-packed wheat berries, you might never go back.
Wheat Berry FAQs
Wheat berries are husked whole wheat kernels. They look like fat, caramel-colored grains of rice, and they're made of three sections: the outer bran, the germ (the plant's embryo), and the endosperm (the germ's source of nutrition and protein). They can be harvested from any type of wheat plant, including spelt, einkorn, rye, emmer, and farro.
Think brown rice, but heftier, chewier, and with a subtle nutty flavor.
You can find wheat berries near the rice in most grocery stores, but if you have a local mill near you, try buying from them instead. I love the selection I can get from Castle Valley Mill, which sells their wheat berries, flours, and pastas online and is located in Pennsylvania not far from where I live. When you buy from a local mill, you can sample rare varieties like einkorn, spelt, rye, and more. And just like different varieties of fruits and vegetables, each has its own nuances.
Use them anywhere you'd use rice or barley, such as stir-fries, soups, and stews, or just as a side dish with chicken and vegetables.
How to Cook Wheat Berries
- Saucepan or pot
- Wooden spoon
- 2 cups wheat berries
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
- Place the wheat berries in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse them under cold running water.
- Transfer the rinsed wheat berries to a medium saucepan, add the salt (if using), and pour in enough water to cover the wheat berries by about 2 inches.
- Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until some but not all of the berries have broken open and they are soft and chewy (not hard and crunchy).
- Drain the wheat berries in a sieve or colander.
- Enjoy hot, at room temperature, or chilled.