What is a Wheat Berry
Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels. Three sections make up wheat kernels, the bran, germ and endosperm.
The bran, the outer layer of the wheat berry, contains fiber, B vitamins and other minerals. The germ is the plant’s embryo. The endosperm is the germ’s source of nutrition and contains protein and carbohydrates. Whole grain wheat flour contains all three parts of the kernel, while enriched flour only contains the endosperm because the germ and the bran have been removed.
Some nutrients are lost in the milling process of enriched flours, but they are added back to the flour along with additional nutrients like iron and folic acid. This fortified flour is the top source of folic acid in women of childbearing age. As a result, this fortification has contributed to reducing neural tube defect rates by 36 percent.
These kernels are tan to reddish-brown color and are available as either a hard or soft grain. Normally the grain kernels are milled into flour, but you will be surprised at the number of ways in which the cooked berries themselves can be used in recipes.
Where Can You Find Wheat Berries
Look for wheat berries at a health food store, in the natural foods section of your local supermarket, or online.
Why Should You Cook with Wheat Berries
Wheat berries are loaded with nutrients because they are whole grains. A cup of cooked berries has about 300 calories and is packed with vitamins, fiber, protein and iron. Adding them to the menu can be a great benefit to your health because half of your grains consumed should be whole.
However, the nutritional benefits aren’t the only reason to eat wheat berries. These kernels are versatile enough to eat at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Cooked berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor. Use as a hot breakfast cereal with milk, honey and cinnamon.
- Add them to salads or use in baked goods to add a crunchy texture
- Use as you would rice
- Add them to soups or even chili
- Serve hot as a side dish
Don’t forget, wheat berries are as easy as rice to prepare.
Source: Wheat Foods Council
Author: Marsha Boswell