The search for the next best thing in the food world is showing no signs of stopping, as a not new but trending superfood called Freekeh hits the headlines. This superfood grain has caused quite a stir in the media, with some arguing it will replace established superfoods such as quinoa and bulghar wheat.
What is it?
Freekeh (pronounced free-kah) is young wheat or spelt that is roasted or smoked just before it reaches maturity. It looks a little like brown rice but bigger, though some say it looks like large green bulgur.
Nearly 2,000 years ago Freekeh was actually discovered by accident. When a Middle Eastern’s crop of young green wheat was set on fire during an attack, the resourceful villagers did not despair. Instead they rubbed off the chaff & cooked what was left behind. This is Freekeh’s creation story in a nutshell.
- Freekeh is a highly nutritious grain and is low in fat, low in sodium, high in protein and has four times the fibre as brown rice¹. In addition, freekeh falls in the low GI category and according to the CSIRO Report, the insulin response to freekeh was also favorable with a pronounced suppression of insulin release relative to glucose by 64-72%².
- Moreover, freekeh is rich in lutein, which is a pigment important for eye health (especially against age-related macular degeneration)³ and in prebiotic properties⁴. With such prebiotic properties, freekeh provides sustenance for the good bacteria that aid in digestion. Similarly, this superfood grain is also high in resistant starch (which is broken down by bacteria in the large intestine into short chain fatty acids), which may play a role in weight management⁴.
- Last but not least, freekeh is a good source of calcium and iron².
What can you do with it?
How it’s cooked
- It is advised that freekeh is soaked in water and a little acid (lemon juice or apple cider vinegar) before cooking for approximately 45 minutes. This breaks down the phytic acid in the grain which holds onto the minerals and thus prevents their absorption.
- Then for the boiling process, freekeh cooks best with a 1¼:1, water to grain ratio, in about 25-45 minutes. It is ready to eat when all the water is absorbed and the grain is tender.
I wanted to come up with a recipe suggestion for this grain. So I came up with this Mexican inspired recipe: Freekeh Burrito Casserole.
Where can you buy freekeh?
You can buy this wonderful superfood grain either online or at health food shops (Holland & Barrett Whole-foods market etc.). It seems to cost on average around £1.50.
- Due to its nutritional properties, I would recommended that freekeh is particularly great for athletes, those keeping an eye on their diet and non-meat eaters. Especially vegans, as this grain will not only add more choice for recipe ideas, but it is a very good plant source of iron, calcium and protein. Why not try this for
- To get the most out the mineral content of this grain, when consuming freekeh, try drinking a vitamin C rich drink alongside eating this grain and avoid drinking tea & coffee.
- Caution: Although low in gluten, this grain still may not be suitable for those who are gluten intolerant.