I do like grains and with a mostly vegetarian daughter, finding unique grains that provide protein, vitamins, and minerals is a must. I stumbled across freekeh and decided to give it a try. Freekeh is part of and derived from durum wheat so it is definitely not gluten free so those with sensitivities or celiac should skip this grain.
Freekeh is an ancient grain that originated from northern Africa and the Mediterranean Basin. It is the result of harvesting durum wheat while it is still green and soft. The harvest is then dried in the sun and carefully burned to remove the straw and chaff. Because the seeds are young and contain a high water content they do not burn. They remaining seeds are then rubbed which give this grain a unique flavor. This rubbing process is translated from the Arabic word farik, which gives this lovely grain its name.
Because freekeh is derived from durum wheat, it also has a remarkably high protein content. This is really important for vegetarians or anyone cutting back on animal proteins. Freekeh also has a wonderful nutrition profile. Rich in magnesium, calcium, and potassium with a high fiber and low glycemic index, freekeh is far superior to either white or brown rice.
Freekeh is definitely not the most common household grain but amazingly, it is widely available. It can be found at most larger supermarkets and online. Cooking freekeh is as easy as cooking rice so you don’t need to worry about that process. Cooking freekeh simply requires a 1:2.5 ratio of grain to water or broth. One cup of freekeh will take about 25 minutes to cook and will yield about 4 cups of cooked grain. Because of the high yield of this grain, properly storing it is important.
Can You Freeze Freekeh?
Freekeh can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It’s a great idea to make extra freekeh and store it in the freezer for a quick and healthy dinner option on busy weeknights.
How To Freeze Freekeh
- Freezing extra freekeh is quick and easy making it a great item to have on hand in the freezer.
- Once the freekeh is cooked, allow it to cool completely to room temperature. This will prevent condensation and help the freekeh maintain its original texture.
- Portion out the freekeh based on how you will use it. I usually portion 2 cups per bag.
- Using high quality freezer safe bags, fill the bags with the portioned, cooled freekeh. Be sure to remove as much air as possible. I use a straw and suck out the air as I close the bag.
- I use bags that let me smooth the freekeh such that is flat. This makes for a space saving tip in the freezer by laying them on top of each other in a stack.
- Label the bags with the contents and date. Properly frozen cooked freekeh will last up to 6 months in the freezer.
How To Thaw Freekeh
I love to use my thawed freekeh in things like soups and casseroles. It also works great just as a side dish with dinner. Thawing frozen freekeh is as easy as popping it into the microwave. Simply put the frozen freekeh in a microwave safe dish, sprinkle a teaspoon or so of water over it, cover and microwave until heated through. You can also put the grain in a saucepan with a dash of water and heat on low until warm. If you are using the freekeh in a soup or casserole, simply add it in frozen and let the cooking process of the dish heat it through.
Freekeh is worth trying. It tastes delicious and will add diversity and health benefits to your dinner.