Freekeh (pronounced free-ka) is a new super food and ingredient. It is 'roasted green grains.' Freekeh is a process and not the name of a grain variety. We might call it new but it was actually discovered around 2300 BC in the Eastern Mediterranean. It’s amazing how something that has been around for so long has just recently become a buzz in the United States. Freekeh can be any grain. The grains are harvested while still soft, young and green, then parched, roasted and dried. The process captures and retains the grains at the state of peak taste and nutrition. Freekeh does have many health benefits. Freekeh is low in carbs, high in fiber & protein and has a low GI (Glycemic Index) which is helpful in managing diabetes. Freekeh is rich in phytonutrients which are helpful in eye health and studies have shown that it can help fight muscular degeneration, that’s good news for me as I can hardly read a menu these days! Freekeh has also shown to benefit bowel health preventing constipation and managing irritable bowel syndrome. Basic Recipe for Cracked Freekeh Microwave Method Place 4 cups of boiling water, 2 cups freekeh, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tbs. olive oil (optional) in a deep microwave bowl. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes if cooking cracked grain, 30-35 minutes for whole grain. Remove from microwave and let stand for 5 minutes, covered, while grains swell and soften further. Absorption Method Place 5 cups cold water, 2 cups freekeh, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tbs. olive oil (optional) in a large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Cover the saucepan with a tightly fitting lid. Lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes if cooking cracked grain, and 40-45 minutes for whole grain. Ensure all water is absorbed and grains are tender before serving. For Wholegrain, the Microwave method is 2 cups of water to 1 cup of freekeh. For absorption method is 5 cups of water to 1 cup of freekeh. Breakfast Both cracked and whole grain freekeh make an excellent breakfast cereal. The cooked freekeh will keep in your refrigerator for up to 8 days so it's readily available each morning! It can be eaten warm – like oatmeal or cold with yogurt. Be creative with what you add to your cereal – fruits, cinnamon, raisins, honey and nuts! Also – try cooking freekeh in apple juice! It makes for a wonderful flavor! Pecan-Freekeh Breakfast Bowl Ingredients: 2 cups 1% low-fat milk 1 cup cracked freekeh 1/3 cup dried cranberries 1 tablespoon butter 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans 1 tablespoon honey 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg Bring milk to a boil in medium saucepan. Stir in freekeh, cranberries and butter. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until freekeh is tender and liquid is almost absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Top each serving with additional chopped pecans, milk or honey. Serves 4.
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