What is freekeh?

Freekeh is a green grain made from young durum wheat which is roasted or smoked then polished to remove the shells. The grain is then cracked to varying degrees of coarseness. Freekeh is mentioned in the Bible, and was reportedly discovered by accident when soldiers in the eastern Mediterranean tried to ruin the crop by setting fire to wheat fields. In trying to salvage what they could, the locals discovered that if the burnt shells were removed, delicious green grains were revealed.

The grains are pale green/brown in colour and similar in texture to bulgur wheat. They have a rich, nutty, smoky flavour. An excellent addition to soups, stews, salads and pilafs, freekeh can be cooked like rice or barley and works well as a stuffing. Wholegrain freekeh is good for those following a low-GI diet. It contains higher levels of dietary fibre and protein than standard wheat and is a source of calcium, potassium, iron and zinc.

How to prepare freekeh

Rinse before and after cooking. Use cracked as opposed to wholegrain freekeh for a shorter cooking time.

How to cook freekeh

For cracked freekeh, use one part freekeh to three parts liquid. Rinse before adding to boiling salted water or stock. Return to the boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 mins or until tender. Wholegrain freekeh needs more water and a longer cooking time, 35-45 mins or until tender.

How to store freekeh

Store freekeh in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Freekeh recipe suggestions

Try the grain in an easy Moroccan freekeh traybake, prerserved lemon roast chicken with freekeh salad or chicken & freekeh chopped salad with salsa verde.

Alternatives to freekeh

Try bulgur wheat.