I was happily munching through today’s lunch of crabsticks, tomato, beetroot and M&S Wheatberries and Giant Couscous salad – when I suddenly realised that I don’t actually know what wheatberries are. I can tell you that they look kind of like pinenuts and have a similar texture to pearl barley – but other than that not a clue….are they a fruit, a grain, a soggy nut? They sure don’t look like a berry. Whatever they are they seem to be appearing in lots of things at the moment – I’ve now realised that they were the mystery ingredient in last week’s hypocrite salad as well.
Google now tells me that wheatberries are actually a whole wheat kernel – the same thing that is ground to make wholewheat flour – cooked to death to make them soggy. This makes them technically a wholegrain and packed with fiber, protein and iron. I’m a fan – with about 165 calories per 50g, they make a great alternative to pine nuts (which are about 340 calories per 50g) on salads – you can also use them instead of rice or other grains, add them to soups and stews and even make porridge out of them. It also seems my favourite convenient carb provider Merchant Gourmet now even sell them in little packets to cook at home – which seems considerably preferably than trying to make them yourself as it seems wheatberries take over an hour of boiling to cook – and frankly, who has the time?.If you do cook them up yourself though they freeze so you could always just do a huge batch in one go.
Of course, if you’re avoiding gluten for any reason, the clue is in the title – wheatberries contain wheat and therefore are not the nutty flavoured choice for you.
Just as with the flat peaches I found a few weeks back, it amazes me that I still find foods out there I haven’t tried yet. And natural ones as well. What have you tried lately that you’d never had before?