Anyone who has paged through a vegetarian cookbook from the 1970s may be familiar with these grains, but they offer the modern cook a way to pack a nutritional, pasta-like punch in soups and stews.
- Khorasan (or kamut): Even though this grain contains gluten, many people with gluten sensitivities find kamut easy to digest. It’s an ancestor to modern wheat, and its large, tooth-shaped kernels are packed with essential minerals like manganese and selenium. They can be puffed and used as a hot or cold cereal, ground into flour, or boiled and used in a grain salad.
- Wheat Berries: Of all the ancient grains, wheat berries benefit most from soaking, as the kernels are tough. They are excellent candidates for bulk cooking in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Because they’re hearty and hold up well in liquid, they’re a nice, fiber-rich addition to soups and stews.
- Spelt Berries: The gluten in spelt is more water soluble than the gluten in all-purpose flour, which, along with its high fiber content, tends to make it easier to digest. The chewy berries can be added to grain salads or cooked like risotto. You can also buy spelt berries that are ground into flour and use it as you would wheat flour in breads, muffins, pancakes, and more.
- Einkorn: Like wheat and spelt, einkorn can be cooked in its whole-berry form or milled into flour. Compared with other grains, it’s challenging to grow and mill, so it can be difficult to find in supermarkets. Seek out a specialty shop or an online retailer, and try the toasty berries in your next stir-fry — they’ll add a boost of vitamin A and potassium.
- Farro: A versatile grain, farro (also called emmer) can be used in risottos or as a swap for pasta. In Italy, where farro is popular, the grain is slightly processed for easier cooking. Check package directions on this one: If unprocessed, farro requires an overnight soak; semi-pearled farro makes for quicker cooking.
This was excerpted from “Ancient Grains, Modern Living” which was published in the October 2021 issue of Experience Life magazine.