Wheat Berry Salad

This. Is. Incredible.

Every single bite will make your mouth sing and your body and soul feel nourished.

That is a tall order for something that sounds so boring as a wheat berry salad. So, you are going to have to trust me on this and just go ahead and make it.  It is equally fantastic warm or room temperature, though I do not like it as much straight out of the fridge.

The ingredient list is very forgiving. Don’t like parsley — skip it.  Want to add corn? Go for it.

For those who do not know what wheat berries are, they are the things one grinds to make whole wheat flour, or plant to grow wheat.  They can be found in the bulk food aisle at Whole Foods, or packaged by Bob’s Red Mill and may be available at your regular supermarket.  Of course, they can also be purchased on Amazon.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups hard wheat berries
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnut
  • 2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper chopped. 
  • 1/2 cup tart dried cherries or cranberries, chopped
  • 2 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Directions

  1. In your Instant Pot: Add 4 ½ cups water to 1-1/2 cups berries. High pressure 30 minutes followed by 10 minute natural release. Drain the wheat berries.*
  2. While cooking the wheat berries, toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Then prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, walnuts, celery, dried cherries, scallions, parsley, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Add chopped bell peppers if you like. 
  4. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

*No pressure cooker? Then, in a large pot combine the wheat berries and enough water to come 2 inches over the wheat berries. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tender, and drain.

 Nutrition Information

Assuming 6 servings (and it may make less, so multiply everything by six and then divide by however many servings you get out of it):

Calories: 345
Fat: 17.3g
Protein: 8.6g
Carbs: 43.9

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Komo Grain Mill (reviewish)

I previously mused about my thoughts on hand-powered versus electric powered mills here.  I settled on an electric mill, and specifically, the grain mill made by Komo. Specifically, I bought the Komo K1 pictured below. It was a little pricey, but so far I am quite happy with it.

One of my favorite uses for the mill is to open it up to the coarse setting and grind 2 ounces of oat groats into a cereal bowl, which I then cover over with vanilla yogurt, and mix to hydrate.  I usually mix in some fruit and put it into a small container and take it to work for breakfast.  Our 1-year old also loves this for breakfast, which is a bonus.

Of course, you don’t need a $600 mill to make coarsely ground oats, and you might even prefer a “flaker” to turn the groats into bigger flakes.  Where the Komo mill really shines is at grinding fine flour from wheat berries. You will find no shortage of reviews for grain mills in general or the Komo mill in particular, and I suggest reading and watching them.

Here are a few things to note in the event they are important to you:

The flour comes out rather warm. The more you grind the warmer it gets.  The heat can be reduced somewhat by refrigerating the wheat berries before you grind them.  I have decided that the warm flour is a ‘bonus’ feature, allowing me to grind right into a bowl of room temperature water so that when I mix up my dough, the dough is warm.  This isn’t really a feature as I’d prefer cold flour which I can mix with the water temperature of my choosing. But, this mill does not turn out cool temperature flour.

The mill is noisy. It is less noisy when I make my “groats” and yogurt because oats are a lot softer and because I grind very little of them so the noise ends very quickly.  But if you are grinding 4 cups of wheat berries, it is not a quiet process and it is not a terribly quick one. Keeping the lid on the hopper dampens the noise somewhat.

The Komo grinds the flour right into your mixing bowl or other vessel.  But, the spout is not all that high so you can’t use a very tall container unless that container rests somewhat below the counter.  The unit fits under the cabinet, though I usually pull it out a bit to make it easier to get the lid off and pour in the wheat berries.  When I am done with it I usually push it back under to make more room on the counter.

One “con” about grinding into a bowl is that it is probably messier than the mills that have a flour chamber.  Often times when the grinding is done, there is still a bit of flour in the spout which will trickle out over time if you don’t reach in there and wipe it out. I don’t care too much, as I will just wipe the counter if flour gets on it.

I have not done any taste tests to determine whether my whole wheat flour yields better tasting loaves than store-bought whole wheat flour. But, I love grinding my own flour because I know that it is never stale.  I also love having wheat berries around because they make delicious and very simple pioneer pancakes.