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.
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?