Valley Bounty: Wheatberries

Locally grown wheatberries offer an alternative to pasta, rice, or other grains in salads, sides, and main dishes.  Wheatberries are flavorful and hearty even when fully cooked, making them a more satisfying and assertive partner in many dishes. Slow-cooked lamb shanks, wheatberries and parsnips are a wonderful one-pot meal, and take advantage of sweet spring-dug parsnips. Or toss a spinach salad with cooked and cooled wheatberries, your favorite vinaigrette, and quick-pickled carrot or watermelon radish.

By Margaret Christie of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA).

Sources: Local wheatberries are available at retailers that prioritize local sourcing, like the region’s food coops, as well as at some farmers’ markets and farm stores. See CISA’s list of growers here.

Recipes:

If you haven’t cooked with whole, unground grains before, you can find information from local farms, you’ll find instructions from Four Star Farms in Northfield here. Once you’ve cooked them, you can add them to salads or soups. A salad of local spring spinach and wheatberries is brightened by quick pickled winter vegetables. The Kitchen Garden, in Sunderland, offers basic instructions for quick pickling vegetables, using inspiration from David Chang at New York’s Momofuku.

This recipe for lamb shanks, wheatberries and parsnips comes from local author T. Susan Chang, via NPR.