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Freekeh is young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. Because freekeh is the end result of working with immature grain, it keeps the high nutritional content wheat plants have in their early stages.

Freekeh is young green wheat that is toasted and cracked. The green wheat grains are harvested and the soft seeds are sun dried. The high moisture content in the seeds prevents them from burning. The seeds are further thrashed for added flavor, texture and color uniform. The term Freekeh is hence derived from farik or 'rubbed' in Arabic. Freekeh, farik or frik, call it what you may but it comes bursting with the goodness of fiber, protein and essential nutrients.

Why Freekeh ?

Freekeh contains more proteins, vitamins and minerals than other mature grains. It is low carb, low GI, high in fiber, rich in probiotic properties and easy to cook. It can be used instead of rice and also as a side dish, as a breakfast cereal, as an ingredient in soups and salads and much more.

In short, freekeh is young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. Although it has been around for centuries and is an 'ancient grain', it has come into prominence lately. Freekeh was the product of an accident - a Middle-Eastern village found itself with its crop of green wheat set ablaze by attackers. The villagers rubbed the burnt chaff and cooked up the rest.

Freekeh and weight loss

As it contains incredibly high fiber content, freekeh is credited with weight loss. As the fiber fills your stomach and keeps you feeling full, it lends satiety. With Freekeh containing fiber and resistant starch, the two key ingredients in any weight loss diet, it is a sought after diet food.

Benefits of freekeh

Freekeh is also full of essential nutrients such as zinc, selenium, potassium and magnesium. It is an excellent source of high protein for vegans and vegetarians. Because freekeh is the end result of working with immature grain, it keeps the high nutritional content wheat plants have in their early stages. Freekeh contains more protein, fiber and minerals than mature wheat, and ranks low on the glycemic index.

Again, when compared to other grains, freekeh's fiber is superior and freekeh contains three times the fiber of brown rice and twice the fiber when compared to quinoa.

In addition, freekeh improves eye health on account of high concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants associated with prevention of age-related macular degeneration.

Freekeh improves digestive health with high fiber content. It prevents constipation and lowers the risk of developing diverticular disease. Freekeh acts as a probiotic and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract.

It can also combat diabetes, and may aid in the prevention of bowel cancer. Freekeh is nearly a fat free food and it is vegetarian and vegan; it is wheat and hence not gluten free. One fourth cup of raw freekeh contains 8 grams of protein, less than 130 calories and 4 grams of fiber. It contains plenty of zinc and it is high in iron. One serving of cooked freekeh has less than a gram of fat.

Cooking freekeh

As freekeh is sold cracked, cooking time is reduced and the nutritional content remains intact. While whole uncracked freekeh takes about 30 minutes to simmer, cracked freekeh takes about half the time, 15 minutes to soften.

To prepare freekeh, add 2:1 ratio of liquid to freekeh – 2 cups of water or broth to every cup of freekeh. Simmer freekeh and when the liquid is absorbed and the grains are soft; they are ready to be used. Some prefer to cook freekeh like pasta, in salted water and a bit of oil.

Convenient and easy to cook, freekeh is an extremely versatile ingredient. Freekeh can be used for wholegrain salads, stir fries, risotto, tabboulis and soups among other recipes.

Tobbouli freekeh recipe

Freekeh 1 cup
Water 2 ½ cups
Olive oil ¼ cup
Lemon juice 1 tablespoon
Chopped fresh parsley ¼ cup
Chopped mint 2 tablespoon
Chopped basil ¼ cup
Chopped onion green 3
Cherry tomatoes 16, chopped and diced
Salt and pepper to taste<

Prepare freekeh and allow it to cool slightly. Then toss olive oil and lemon juice. Combine freekeh with chopped parsley, basil and green onions and mix well. Add tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Let it sit for a while before serving. Toss again before serving.

Golden Freekeh balls

Freekeh uncooked or cracked 1 cup
Water 2 ½ cups
Potato grated 1
Onion gated 2
Garlic minced 2
Parsley finely chopped ½ cup
Bread crumbs ¾ cup
Cheese grated ¾ cup
Eggs whisked 3
Black pepper ground ¼ teaspoon
Salt to taste
Olive oil for brushing

Cook freekeh in a large pan of water for 20 minutes and take off the heat and let it cool. Drain the excess water. Keep this cooked freekeh mixed with other ingredients refrigerated in an airtight container overnight. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Place small balls of the mixture on cookie sheets lined with olive oil. Cook for about 20 minutes till deep golden.

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