Freekeh known as “Super Food” is made from young wheat that is harvested while still green and put through a roasting and rubbing process during production. It has a smoky, nutty flavor and a firm, chewy texture. It has gained popularity and is becoming the “new quinoa”.
Modern scientific analysis and clinical trials have discovered what traditional peoples have long known: that wheat, when harvested young, retains more of its proteins, vitamins and minerals and generate great health benefits.
Freekeh grows in the Bekaa and the South of Lebanon.
Villager harvesting green wheat in Ein Ebel, South Lebanon. The wheat is harvested while the grains are tender and green.
The term freekeh is actually the name of a process used to prepare grains, and not the name of a specific grain variety. Farmers used to rub the roasted wheat to get the grains out.
Freekeh being roasted in a traditional way in the field.
Freekeh’s fiery story dates back thousands of years, possibly as far back as 2,300 BC. Allegedly, a Middle Eastern village came under enemy attack and their crops of young, green wheat caught fire during the siege.
”Freekeh became common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines and has long been part of the food culture in countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Palestine Lebanon and Syria.
The villagers ingeniously found they were able to salvage their food supply by rubbing away the burned chaff to reveal the roasted wheat kernels inside. This is what we know today as freekeh, which means “to rub” or “the rubbed one.
Freekeh is sold as “whole” or “whole grain” and as “cracked.” That might seem confusing, but basically, “cracked” freekeh has just been broken into smaller pieces. This allows cracked freekeh to cook faster , and also gives it a slightly different texture.
After being roasted, Freekeh is dried for few days.
Roasted wheat getting through the seeds separation process.
Nothing beats a selfie after a long day in the field.
A lady from Hariss, South Lebanon waiting in the field for her Freekeh to be rubbed and seeds separated.
Im Nasser from Hariss, South Lebanon preparing Freekeh with meat and nuts.