Early in 2011, a small co-op of U.S. farmers approached us about creating pasta made from Freekeh grain. Freekeh, as we came to learn, is immature green wheat that is roasted using an ancient process that dates back to biblical times. What intrigued us about Freekeh was not just the story behind it (story below), but also that the process results in a grain that is much higher in nutritional value than traditional modern grains. Furthermore, Freekeh had never before been grown and roasted in the U.S. and Pappardelle’s was to be the exclusive purveyor of Freekeh pasta.
Below are some of the unique properties of Freekeh:
- Pappardelle’s has the exclusive to create pasta from organically grown, roasted and milled U.S. Freekeh (what little Freekeh is in the U.S. comes from Australia or the Middle East).
- Harvested from green, immature Durum wheat, resulting in rich nutritional properties.
- Has a smoky, nutty flavor.
- One of Dr. Oz’s 7 Essentials for Women Over 40.
- Gained steam in the U.S. after Bonnie Matthews, a Wellness Warrior blogger with the Dr. Oz Show, highlighted Freekeh as a key part of her 120-pound weight loss story.
- According to legend, Freekeh originated around 2300 BC, when the attackers of a Syrian village set the green wheat fields on fire before they retreated. When the villagers returned, they tried to salvage their wheat crop by rubbing away the burnt chaff. They discovered that because of the high moisture content of the kernels, they were merely roasted, and were left with a greenish color and a smoky, nutty flavor. This led to the tradition of intentional harvesting at the immature milky stage and careful roasting of the grain. The commonly used name “freekeh” is from the classical Arabic word “farīk," which refers to the rubbing action used to remove the charred hull.
- High in dietary fiber (4x higher than brown rice).
- High protein content and quality.
- Functions as prebiotic in the gut and rich in probiotic properties.
- Low in available carbohydrates, high in resistant starches.
- Rich in calcium, iron and zinc.
- High in lutein and zeaxanthin (helps in preventing age-related macular degeneration).