Ingredient Spotlight: Wheat Berries

If you don’t know what a wheat berry is or have never tried them before, you are definitely not the only one. I  get a ton of emails from readers asking about them – what they taste like, how I eat them, how I cook them, where I get them, etc. Since they are something I only discovered about a year ago but are awesome enough to make at least a weekly appearance in my menu, I thought I’d do a post dedicated to them. Though wheat berries do take a little time to prepare, they are super versatile, tasty, nutritious and totally worth it.

So what exactly is a wheat berry?

A wheat berry is an individual kernel of wheat – simple as that. They are actually what are ground to make flour, and come in different varieties from light brown to dark red. Wheat berries are chewy in texture and mildly nutty in flavor, and are absolutely delicious.

Are wheat berries good for you?

Yes, wheat berries are very good for you! They are a whole grain, and there are tons of health benefits associated with consuming more whole grains, like reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers. They are also very low in fat, loaded with fiber and protein, and contain many other essential nutrients including iron, calcium, and Vitamin E. They are also lower in Points+ than other grains, clocking in at just 2 pts+ per half cup cooked, so they make a great addition to many different meals.

Where can I buy wheat berries?

I buy my wheat berries at Whole Foods or Wegmans, but you can find them at many stores with bulk sections. Many health food stores also carry them, and I also found them online at amazon here, where they are $16.80 for 25 lbs, so just 67 cents per pound! I usually find them for $1.99/lb around here, but I buy way less than 25 lbs at a time…

How do you store them?

Wheat berries should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, and can last up to TEN years!

How do you prepare wheat berries?

Wheat berries are a little time consuming to prepare, but totally worth it because if you make a big batch over the weekend, you can use them throughout the whole week. They do require soaking, so you want to start by measuring out the amount you want to prepare and soaking them for 6-8 hours, or overnight.

Once they are done soaking, the water will have a little orange/brown-ish tint to it.

Drain and rinse them once they are done soaking, and they are ready to be cooked.

Add them to a pot with a 1-3 ratio of wheat berries to water, and cook them for 50-60 minutes.

When they’re done cooking, they will still be chewy and not too soft, but you should be able to very easily bite through them.

I usually let them cool and then store them in a tupperware in the fridge until I’m ready to use them.

What can you do with them once they’re cooked?

Wheat berries are super versatile and can be used pretty much anywhere you’d use brown rice or any other grain. I have them for breakfast several days a week with greek yogurt, berries or other fruit, and a splash of vanilla extract. I love that I can just pack everything up in a container the night before and they require no heating or additional cooking so I can just grab them and go in the morning.

wheat berry breakfast

Some other ideas are:

  • Add them to salads
  • Add to soups or stews
  • Bake them into breads to add texture
  • Mix with chopped veggies, chickpeas, and feta for a summer salad
  • Use them in my Any Grain Goes Salad

Have you tried wheat berries before? What’s the most recent new-to-you food you’ve tried?

25 Comments on Ingredient Spotlight: Wheat Berries

  1. Shannon
    April 28, 2011 at 8:56 am (6 years ago)

    I make a sprouted grain bread using wheat berries. I was sick of dropping $5 or $6 for a loaf of Ezikel, so I decided to make my own! It’s a bit time consuming but so very worth it. The most new to me food I’ve tried is probably chia seeds, which I got into a couple of months ago. The other day, I tried a new to me recipe for killer tomato ‘bread’ recipe which is to die for.

    Reply
    • Beth
      April 28, 2011 at 9:28 am (6 years ago)

      Wow how cool that you sprout your own grains! That’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but just haven’t gotten around to. Not sure if you have a TJ’s by you, but the Ezekiel 4:9 is $3.99/loaf there, which isn’t GREAT but it’s cheaper than other places.

      Reply
      • Shannon
        April 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm (6 years ago)

        No TJ’s sadly. That’s what I get for living north of the border. Sprouting grain is easy, or at least it is with wheat berries. It is however a practice in patience.

        Reply
  2. Kandi
    April 28, 2011 at 9:22 am (6 years ago)

    O.M.G…I can’t wait to go out and get some! That plate of berries, berries and yogurt looks delish!

    Thanks Beth!

    Reply
  3. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    April 28, 2011 at 9:24 am (6 years ago)

    I have never tried wheatberries, but they look interesting!

    New-to-me food — probably nutritional yeast. I haven’t used it much but I like what I’ve made so far!

    Reply
    • Beth
      April 28, 2011 at 9:29 am (6 years ago)

      I have some nutritional yeast in my pantry but I’ve never used it. I think they should change the name – it sounds so unappetizing but I’m sure its good!

      Reply
  4. Michelle
    April 28, 2011 at 9:25 am (6 years ago)

    Yum! I love this post!

    Reply
  5. goodtastehealthyme
    April 28, 2011 at 9:26 am (6 years ago)

    I’ve never tried it but definitely want to. I need to incorporate some healthy grains more often!

    Reply
  6. Leah
    April 28, 2011 at 9:26 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for this post! I just bought wheat berries on impulse yesterday and was just wondering what to do with them. Yum!

    Reply
  7. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    April 28, 2011 at 9:26 am (6 years ago)

    I have never tried wheatberries but have been meaning to for a while.

    My “new to me” food from the last year is brussel sprouts…I hated them growing up and they definitely don’t smell good (which was what turned me off in the first place) but prepared the right way and they are delicious!

    Reply
    • Beth
      April 28, 2011 at 9:30 am (6 years ago)

      Brussels have such a bad reputation but you are right – prepared right they are delish!

      Reply
  8. Lyn @ Life Lyn Style
    April 28, 2011 at 9:39 am (6 years ago)

    I’ve been making these for a few weeks now. I’ve never soaked them. What’s the advantage to soaking?

    Reply
    • Beth
      April 28, 2011 at 9:43 am (6 years ago)

      You know I’m not sure, I just went by the Bulk Bin thing I got from Whole Foods way back when. i just looked it up and google gives mixed results. I think soaking them does make the cooking time a lot shorter, but maybe you don’t have to! I always do.

      Reply
  9. beyondbananas
    April 28, 2011 at 10:26 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for posting this Beth! I have been wanting to use Wheatberries (I know they are popular too – the bulk container is almost ALWAYS near empty at Whole Foods) … I just have not really known enough about them to use the properly. Now I do!

    I’ve been on a Quinoa quick lately. I just started using at in the new year and LOVE it! I use it instead of rice!

    Reply
  10. Christine @ Merf In Progress
    April 28, 2011 at 11:10 am (6 years ago)

    I bought wheatberries and need to remember to make them! It’s the 8 hour soak that gets in my way.

    Reply
  11. Weighting For 50
    April 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm (6 years ago)

    OOOH…thanks for this Beth. I’m going to go out and get some wheatberries soon and give them a try.

    Reply
  12. happywhennothungry
    April 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm (6 years ago)

    I will def be getting some wheat berries at Wegmans!!! They look delicious and so healthy too!

    Reply
  13. Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    April 28, 2011 at 5:46 pm (6 years ago)

    I suspect these would be a big NO GO for me as I am intolerant to wheat lol

    Reply
  14. Karen
    April 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve never really even heard of wheat berries. I definitely will give them a try:)

    Reply
  15. Chase
    April 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m def curious about these! I’ll have to pick some up next time I’m at WF or Weggies!

    Reply
  16. bakebooks
    April 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm (6 years ago)

    What a great informative post! I’ve seen these on a few blogs but have never tried them. But I love my grains – so maybe one day 🙂

    Reply
  17. Maria
    May 1, 2011 at 11:42 am (6 years ago)

    I am from Denmark and use often what you call Wheat berries in my cooking to substitute rice or pasta. But I have never heard that they need to be drained before use. I just rinse then and cook them max for 20 min. I like they still have a good bite, but can of course be cooked to you get the texture you like. When I use them in my breads and buns I either soak them for 30min or cook for a couple of min. You should also try the rye and barley version if you can get them in the states. They have a more nutty flavor and are higher in fiber that wheat.

    Reply
  18. Brandy
    September 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm (5 years ago)

    I’m with Marla, I never soak mine, just rinse and throw them in a pot with water and bowl til tender. I make a bunch at one time, drain them, and freeze the extra. Then I pull them out and use them in everything. My yogurt in the morning, stews, stir frys, salads. Love them! They are so versatile and take no time to defrost.

    Reply
  19. Kimberly
    October 3, 2012 at 10:52 am (5 years ago)

    Beth,
    Put that nutritional yeast on your popcorn after it comes out of the microwave. It has an incredible buttery/salty/cheesy taste and also goes great on a baked potato!

    Reply

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