Bluebird Grain Farms

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Q: I recently enjoyed a wonderful Emmer Farro salad at my friend’s house so I decided to try making it at home. However, I decided to cut the cooking instructions on the back of the package by half. I was disappointed with the results because the Farro never really plumped up – I doubt if I got even a cup of cooked grain and the texture was hard and unappetizing. What am I doing wrong?

A: The berries usually do plump up – at least double in size! We’re not sure what went wrong except perhaps there was not enough liquid added?  Some people are used to preparing “pearled Farro” – an imported Farro with the germ and bran removed that results in a quicker cooking time, fewer nutrients and a softer texture. Our whole grain Farro can seem “chewier” and it is, in fact, a plump chewy berry when cooked. Don’t expect it to be like the texture of rice. For people who prefer a softer texture, we recommend soaking our grain overnight then cook it for 40-50 minutes and drain excess water. Having excess water is key for the longer cooking time. The benefit of this is that it does keep its chewy flavor over time so you can cook some on Monday and use it throughout the week.

Q: I bought some of your Emmer at the Roslyn Sunday Market and when I tried to cook risotto with it recently it was still super chewy after an hour. I realize it is supposed to be chewy, but I’m talkin’ SUPER chewy.

A: Whole Grain Emmer (cooked) can be chewy compared to what most people are used to (rice, quinoa, bulgar). It is supposed to be “toothsome.” If you like your grain softer you can soak it overnight – this will reduce the chewiness. Also, make sure you cook it at least 60 minutes. If you undercook it, it will also be chewy.

Q Can you prepare farro in either a rice cooker or a crockpot?

A: YES.  We recommend using the brown rice (if your rice cooker comes with settings).  Lots of our customers rave about cooking Emmer or Einka in a rice cooker.  It also works great in a crock pot, remember Emmer takes a long time to cook, so if you are using a crockpot it will take at least 3-4 hours.

Q: I just bought some cracked emmer on your website to use as a hot cereal, and I was just wondering if you had any advice or suggestions as to how to cook it. Is it necessary to soak it before cooking to shorten cooking time and/or improve digestibility, or can it just be cooked immediately before serving, as one would do with cracked wheat or oatmeal?

A: There are cooking instructions on the back of the package. Cracked Emmer cooks in about 12-15 minutes. It is not necessary to soak before cooking, but you can and it will shorten the cooking time. I have a few customers who like to soak it in milk overnight, and then heat it up in the morning. It should be served immediately after cooking.

We like to put shredded coconut, fruit and yogurt on our cooked emmer. Our kids love it- it is kind of like a healthier version of cream of wheat! .

Q: Can you grind Emmer berries in a coffee grinder?

A: No, please do not grind Emmer or any wheat berries for that matter in your coffee grinder, they are too hard and will ruin your coffee grinder!

Q: I just received my order of Emmer Farro and have a question. Do you have cooking directions for making more than one cup at a time? I like to batch cook and freeze, so I’m just making sure I have the directions correct.

A: On the stovetop simply double or triple the recipe.  For example, 1 cup of emmer to 3 cups of water doubled would be 2 cups of emmer to 6 cups of water, etc…. after 60 minutes of cook time, drain any excess liquid.   The key with emmer is that you do not need the perfect grain to water ratio like rice.  You just need to make sure you have enough liquid to simmer it for at least 60 minutes, then you can drain the excess liquid.    The beautiful thing about this grain is that you can’t overcook it.  It can be simmered for hours and remains a chewy berry, which is why people love it for soups! You can also cook Emmer in a rice cooker on the brown rice setting.  1 cup of Emmer to 2 cups of water or liquid, double recipe accordingly.

Q: Can I freeze whole grain emmer?
A: Yes! Emmer freezes beautifully.  Just make sure it is fully cooled before you put it into the freezer.