With a nutty and sweet taste, wheat berries are packed to the brim with nutrition.
Wheat berries can be purchased at health food stores and right here at Bob’s Red Mill. They’re certainly making a name for themselves in the health food scene as of recently, and for good reason. Wheat berries actually contain the bran, germ and endosperm of the entire wheat kernel. Typically the wheat kernel is processed to form things like bread and pasta. But with the entire kernel still intact, the wheat berry packs serious health punch of fiber, protein and vitamins.
They can be used in place of grains like rice, quinoa and farro or ground to make a flour for baked goods. They work well in both savory dishes and sweet dishes, of breakfast dishes and dinner dishes. They have a texture that holds up well and is a great choice for things like hearty soups, stews and porridges.
Keep in mind as you start to experiment with wheat berries, that though they can be used like other grains, they often require more cooking time. This sometimes makes people shy away from using them, but it doesn’t need to! We suggest making a big batch of wheat berries and keeping them on hand throughout the week to make nutritious salads or to throw into soups for a bit of extra nutrition. You can even make then freeze your wheat berries for up to a month to make things even easier.
However you’re choosing to enjoy your wheat berries, the nutritional benefits are incredible. These tiny powerhouses are high in nutrients, loaded with flavor, and the perfect ingredient to add to a healthy diet.
Let’s jump into all things wheat berry and get you excited about introducing this magic ingredient into your mealtime routine.
5 Health Benefits of Wheat Berries
From regulating blood sugar to helping with smooth digestion, the nutrition of wheat berries is amazing. Here are five of the top health benefits of wheat berries.
Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
If you’re looking to keep those blood sugar levels under control, consider the wheat berry your new best friend. Wheat berries have a lot of fiber, which can help to slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. High blood sugar can lead to headaches and exhaustion, so introducing wheat berries into your daily routine will help you feel good from the inside out.
Support a Healthy Heart and Strong Bones
Because of their high fiber content, wheat berries might support a healthy heart. Fiber has shown to lower cholesterol levels (when cholesterol is high, fat builds in arteries and blood isn’t flowing as well as it could be). Wheat berries are also a great source of manganese, which maintains healthy bones and helps to develop bone cartilage and collagen. In fact, one serving of wheat berries offer nearly your entire daily recommended intake of manganese!
Help With Weight Loss
If you’re wanting to lose weight, wheat berries are an amazing food to incorporate into your diet! They’re packed with nutrients and are high in both protein and fiber, which means they’ll help to keep you satisfied and full (and reduce the risk for a 3 pm unhealthy snack attack).
Promote Good Digestion
When it come to wheat berry nutrition, many aren’t surprised to hear that these berries are an excellent source of fiber. Fiber promotes good digestion and helps to keep you regular.
Decrease Iron Deficiency
Wheat berries are an excellent source of iron. Eating wheat berries and other foods rich in iron can decrease the risk for iron deficiencies and anemia, promoting healthy red blood cell production.
Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Berries
Our Organic Hard Red Wheat Berries are high protein dark northern wheat kernels with a delicious nutty flavor. These robust berries can be ground to make whole wheat flour or used in everything from baked goods to salads.
For our wheat berries, we use high protein hard red wheat from the absolute best organic wheat crops we can find. This type of hard red spring wheat has the highest protein content of all the wheat varieties. One serving contains 6 grams of protein, 8 percent of your daily value of iron, and more than 20 percent of your daily dietary fiber intake. They contain no saturated fat and can be added to breakfast cereal, salads or baked goods.
Cook them for your breakfast cereal, toss them into your stews or add them to your salads.
Cook wheat berries as a breakfast cereal, add them to soups or sprout them for salads.
Keep in mind that wheat berries are not gluten free. If you’re sensitive to gluten or wheat, or if you have celiac disease, you should avoid wheat berries or recipes that involve wheat berries.
Basic Preparation Instructions for Wheat Berries
As an added bonus, wheat berries aren’t just nutritious, they’re delicious, too. Here’s a good basic breakdown of the preparation for the berries. From here, the possibilities are endless!
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 3/4 cups Water
1/2 cup Hard Red Wheat Berries or Organic Hard Red Wheat Berries, rinsed
In a saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for one hour or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool or serve immediately.
Place ingredients in a slow cooker. Set the cooker on low and put the lid on. Let it sit overnight, or all day, at least 8 hours or up to 12 hours. Drain and set aside to cool or serve immediately.
How to Use Wheat Berries
Ready to dive in and get cooking? Here are some of the best ways to use wheat berries.
Soup and Chili
Many people use quinoa or rice in soups and chilis, so using wheat berries seems like a no brainer! You can use your wheat berries in all sorts of soups, stews and chilis, whether they’re vegetarian or not. Add them to your saucepan for a bit of extra protein and an energy boost.
You can use wheat berries in a similar way that you would use oatmeal. After preparing your wheat berries on the stove, add whatever you’d add to oats! Try plain Greek yogurt or almond milk, nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans, and fresh berries or dried fruit. Top it all off with a drizzle or two of honey, and you’re in business.
Because wheat berries can be used as you’d use rice, a great place to start with wheat berries for dinner is a risotto. The nutty flavor works well with mushroom risottos, in particular, especially if you’re cooking your wheat berries in a vegetable or mushroom brown. Top your dish off with Parmigiano-Reggiano and some fresh basil or parsley, and you’ll be set. If you do make risotto, make a big batch, as it heats up beautifully.
One of the easiest and best tasting ways to enjoy wheat berries is in salads. They can be combined with virtually any sort of salad you can imagine, from a roasted beet salad to a raw spinach salad. Add wheat berries to your salads to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients to sustain you throughout the day or evening. We promise they taste great, too! Try this recipe for Spring Rhubarb, Herb and Wheat Berry Salad to get you going.
Wheat berries can be used in breads and baked goods. Just as they taste good in savory dishes, their buttery taste holds up in bread and baked goods, too. This Wheat Berry Whole Wheat Bread is fun to whip up and tastes amazing. You can use it for everything from sandwiches to cheese toast. It tastes pretty good when dipped in a big bowl of hot soup, too!
Have you explored the wide world of wheat berries yet? Maybe you’ve made bread, tossed them into a stew, or added them to your morning breakfast bowl.
Feel free to share your tidbits of wheat berry inspiration with us in the comments below. Because they’re still somewhat of a lesser-known grain, we’re always on the hunt for fun and exciting new ways to eat them.
From all of us at Bob’s Red Mill, wishing you a healthy, happy and cheerful week ahead!