What berries are great little nuggets…..they are a whole grain, containing the germ, endosperm and bran. They have a nice dose of fiber and protein, and well as the B vitamins and several minerals.
Though you can cook them just until they are crunchy, I prefer to let them get a bit more tender. They take at least an hour to cook (often longer, despite what many packages say), though you want to make sure they have a bit of chew to them and don’t get too soft.
The basic ratio is 1 3/4 cups water or broth to 1 cup dried grain, but if you use a bit more liquid you will have some insurance against all of the water or broth evaporating and the bottom grains starting to burn.
Not that I know any of that from experience.
There are different types of what berries, hard and soft, Spring and Winter, red and white. If you want to take a deeper dive, you will become a wheat berry expert and know the ones you like best, for for what kinds of dishes. I am still a wheat berry novice, but I do know that I like ’em a lot.
I often use them cool, in salads, and to cool them without them getting gummy I spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
If you make a nice-sized batch early in the week you can throw them into all kinds of side dishes and salads for extra texture (true of most grains). They kind of remind me of barley, but with even a bit more chew.
I’m going to revisit this salad in the belly of late summer, with chopped big ripe tomatoes, and basil.
Mediterranean Tomato Wheat Berry Salad with Fresh Herbs
- 3 cups cooked wheat berries cooked accordingly to package directions
- 3 cups quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup roughly chopped olives black or green or a combination
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard preferably coarse
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place the wheat berries in a large mixing bowl, and add the tomatoes, onion, olives, scallions, parsley and mint. Toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, or a container place the olive oil, thyme, lemon juice, rice vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper. Stir or shake to combine well, then pour the dressing over the grain salad. Toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature.
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