The preference of vegetarians in consuming plant-based foods has given rise to the popularity of grains as staples in dishes. Farro also called emmer or einkorn is an ancient grain whose harvesting and shape are similar to that of barley. Although, its shape is slightly more oblong and bigger than barley. There are three types of farro: emmer, spelt, and einkorn.
Farro is very popular in Mediterranean restaurants and it is easy to cook with. It is different from the modern-day grains and wheat found in grocery stores. During its germination, genetic manipulations and cross-breeding are not done to boost its production and size. It is allowed to grow naturally.
What does farro taste like? When the farro is cooked properly, it has a complex and nutty taste like that of barley but with a more chewy and caramel texture. It looks and tastes like light brown rice with an extra tone of oat. It makes a perfect choice for dishes that layer flavor due to its ability to take on the character or sauce, spice, and dressings. Its taste can be enhanced by roasting before using it to cook.
This grain is exceptionally sweet and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. If this naturally grown ingredient has not yet found its way into your kitchen, it’s time to add it.
Nutritional Benefits of Farro
The demand for farro has witnessed a great increase recently not only because it tastes great and can serve as an alternative to refined grains, but it is also helpful to the human body and fosters its proper functioning.
Farro contains a high amount of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, zinc, iron, niacin, vitamins B. The ancient grain is gluten-free and fiber-rich.
A well-functioning immune system is one of the prerequisites of maintaining a sustainable healthy condition. The zinc contained in farro is essential for a good immune system, repairing wounds, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and breaking down carbohydrates during digestion. It also helps break down food into smaller bits to allow the body to easily absorb it and convert them into energy.
Its magnesium content is functional in building strong bones and teeth, improves immunity against chronic diseases, and boosts nerve and muscle function. It also helps the blood circulatory system by easing the passage of blood in the vein and regulating blood glucose levels.
The fiber in farro is higher than that of other popular grains like pasta and couscous. It helps improve the digestive system, prevent an irregular increase in blood sugar level, and lower the cholesterol level in the body. They also help boost gut health by feeding friendly bacteria that help fight disease and reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases.
Farro also contains compounds like polyphenols, selenium, carotenoids, and phytosterol that act as antioxidants in the body. It helps reduce the risk of getting stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. Farro contains a lot of protein that helps reduce the appetite and keep the stomach filled for a very long time.
Culinary Uses of Farro
The grain does not require soaking before cooking and it cooks faster than other types of grains. It has a versatile usage and can be used in cooking like other types of grain. Make a creamy and hearty salad with cooked farro instead of using regular rice or quinoa. Also, serve it as a main dish by cooking the ancient grain with meaty mushrooms and thyme.
You can change the regular breakfast with farro. Instead of rice, use farro to prepare risotto or mix it with evaporated milk and sugar. You can enjoy this delicacy with cinnamon roasted apples. Also, baby spinach blends well with farro and homemade masala spice. This makes it a great choice in preparing Masala spinach farro with an extra creamy taste.
The salad prepared using farro can be served with grilled Italian sausage. Allow farro grain to boil, until it becomes pulled and chewy. In a bowl, prepare a salad by mixing lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, and feta cheese before adding your cooked farro to it. Allow it to cook for about 8 minutes and cool off. You can then chop your finely diced grilled sausage into it. Almond can be sprinkled over the salad mixture to enhance its taste.
Where is Farro Grown? How Do You Procure It?
Farro is believed to have been found in the tombs of Egyptian kings and to have been an important part of the Roman legion diet. In recent times, farro has been common with Italians. The name farro does not mean just one type of grain, it refers to multiple grains that were brought to Rome in 44BCE.
Farro can be found in the bulk foods sections, baking section, or cereal corner of the grocery and health food stores. When you buy the grain from a store, it is usually pearled. This makes it easy to cook because its bran would have been removed.
Put it in a pot of boiling water and allow it to simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Make sure that the grain is well cooked and the moisture is absorbed before consuming. Unopened farro can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months while those that have been opened should be placed in an airtight container bag and stored in the freezer far away from moisture and light.
Is Farro Better Than Quinoa?
Farro has a very higher fiber content when compared to quinoa. It provides the body with the daily recommendation of fiber needed to function effectively. So, if you want a natural source of fiber, farro is a good option.
Facts You Didn’t Know About Farro
- Emmer, the most common type of farro is found in mountain regions in Tuscany while others like spelt are popularly grown in Switzerland and Austria.
- Farro has been farmed by Italians for over 10,000 years.