wheat berries from the farm
Another weekly haul from my CSA – another recipe to go with it. In case you forgot, CSA is a Community Supported Agriculture group who comes together to purchase fresh farm produce and products from local farms. The CSA I belong to gets its items from Crooked Sky Farms and this week, one of the items in my basket was a bag of fresh wheat berries.
What is a wheat berry? A wheat berry is the entire wheat kernel, minus the hull, composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm. Wheat berries have a tan to reddish color. They are often added to salads or baked into bread to add a crunchy texture. When wheat berries are milled, whole-wheat flour is what you end up with.
Have you had wheat berries before? Have you cooked with them? I’d previously eaten wheat berries but I hadn’t used them in my kitchen yet. Now I have, with delicious results. Enjoy!
Fruity Wheat Berry Salad
1 cup dry wheat berries
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups water
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 bunch green onions, white and light green portions, diced
2 small or 1 large pear, cored and cubed
1/4 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese (I found a cranberry-cinnamon goat cheese, any flavor or plain is just fine)
2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar *
Zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil
* Substitute 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar plus 1 teaspoon honey, blended together
Salad: To clean the wheat berries, place in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water and use your hands to swish the berries in the water. Hulls, little bits, and possibly twigs will float to the surface. Skim off everything that floats. Swish and skim again. Pour into a strainer and rinse under cold running water. Now your wheat berries are ready to cook.
Add the wheat berries, salt, and water to a medium pot; bring up to a boil, then cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, and cook for about 45 minutes or until the wheat berries are tender but still have a little “bite” stirring occasionally.
Drain, rinse under cold running water, and drain again.
Meanwhile, combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes. Drain the cranberries, reserving the juice.
Vinaigrette: Whisk together balsamic, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, reserved orange juice from soaking cranberries, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Slowing add the olive oil, while whisking.
Place the wheat berries in a large serving bowl. Add the cranberries, blueberries, green onions, and pear.
Pour vinaigrette over the salad and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
Right before serving, top the salad with pecans and goat cheese.