Freekeh with the Food Heritage Foundation
This power-packed mega-grain is back, but what do you really know about it?
Freekeh is young wheat that is harvested approximately one and a half months before it matures, between April and May, while the wheat is still green and milky. An ancient grain that was discovered in the Middle East around 2300 B.C., it has been consumed there as a staple for centuries. The word freekeh comes from the Arabic verb 'farakah' meaning to rub and refers to a step in freekeh production when the wheat grains are rubbed to remove their shell. When harvested, freekeh is tied into piles and left to dry in the sun for 3-4 hours. The piles are then roasted over an open wood or charcoal fire, on the ground, for 10-15 minutes and then stored in the shade for a couple of days. Straw and chaff that were burned during this process are rubbed off and the grain is left to dry for 45 days. The final product is a firm chewy grain with a smoky flavor loaded with nutritional benefits.
Dominique Anid is the health and nutrition specialist of the Food Heritage Foundation, a Lebanese non-profit organization that aims to preserve, document and revive Lebanon's traditional heritage.