What is Emmer Farro?Emmer wheat or Farro is an ancient type of wheat that along with Einkhorn are believed to be the parent plants of all Durum wheats.
The seed was first cultivated in Babylonia around 7000 B.C.. It would have been the dominant crop in the Middle East during old testament times. Although in the Bible the word Emmer was often translated as Spelt (a relative of Emmer wheat eaten much later in history). It was however Emmer and Barley that were the main cereal crops grown in Egypt and later in Rome.
Over time, Emmer wheat was replaced by other forms of wheat that had higher yields and were free threshing (grains that can be removed from their husks without pounding or grinding). Domesticated Emmer became a relic crop and wild Emmer was actually a lost species until it was rediscovered in 1906 growing wild in Israel by the Sea of Galilee.
Emmer TodayToday, Emmer is popular in Italy where it goes by the name of Farro. The word Farro is a general term for hulled wheat so other grains like Spelt are often called Farro. However, traditionally speaking, Farro is Emmer wheat. It usually comes semi-pearled as the result of processing to remove its husks. It is used in a number of ways in Italian cooking but is most popular boiled whole and served like a risotto. It is also used to make pastas.
Health BenefitsLike other ancient varieties of wheat, Emmer is high in protein, fiber, and minerals. When combined with legumes it makes a complete protein. It also has a gluten structure that is different than modern wheat so people with gluten allergies can usually eat it without any problems.
How To Cook?Combine 1 part grain with 2 parts liquid. Bring to a boil then simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and let stand 5 minutes.
Substitute Emmer flour for whole wheat in any of our delicious whole wheat bread recipes to create a taste from the Old World.
Warm Italian Farro Spring SaladThis is an adapted version of a recipe by Skye Gyngell. This simple, seasonal, late-spring salad can be offered as an Italian appetizer.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
In a medium saucepan bring several cups of water (enough to cover the vegetables) to a boil. Add the fava beans, asparagus, and peas. Cook just long enough to blanche (1 - 2 minutes).
Rinse the spinach in cold water. Cook the spinach in a dry pan over low heat until the spinach begins to wilt. Remove quickly and drain in a colander.
Place the cooked emmer, spinach, peas, fava beans, and asparagus into a bowl and mix with the olive oil and lemon juice.
Season with sea salt and black pepper. Toss lightly and serve immediately while everything is still warm and fresh.
Italian Farro SoupThis is an adapted version of a recipe by Matthew Fort. It pays homage to the flavors of Central Italy.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
Bring 3 cups of water, lightly salted, to a boil. Add the emmer and pearl barley. Bring to another boil then simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and let stand 5 minutes.
In a separate pot cook the chickpeas and lentils according to package directions.
In a frying pan, lightly saute the onions and carrots just until the onions are translucent.
In a stockpot, add all of the ingredients and cover with enough water to create the desired consistency. Bring to a boil, then season well with salt and pepper.
Serve warm garnished with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.