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Q: I recently enjoyed a wonderful Emmer Farro salad at my friend’s house so I decided to try making it at home. However, I decided to cut the cooking instructions on the back of the package by half. I was disappointed with the results because the Farro never really plumped up – I doubt if I got even a cup of cooked grain and the texture was hard and unappetizing. What am I doing wrong?
A: The berries usually do plump up – at least double in size! We’re not sure what went wrong except perhaps there was not enough liquid added. Some people are used to having “pearled Farro” – an imported Farro with the germ and bran removed that results in a quicker cooking time, less nutrients and a softer texture. Our whole grain Farro can seem “chewier” and it is in fact a plump chewy berry when cooked. Don’t expect it to be like the texture of rice. For people who prefer a softer texture we recommend soaking our grain overnight then cook it for 40-50 minutes and drain excess water. Having excess water is key for the longer cooking time. The benefit of this is that it does keep its chewy flavor over time so you can cook some on Monday and use it throughout the week.
Q: I bought some of your Emmer at the Roslyn Sunday Market and when I tried to cook risotto with it recently it was still super chewy after and hour. I realize it is supposed to be chewy, but I'm talkin’ SUPER chewy.
A: Whole Grain Emmer (cooked) can be chewy compared to what most people are used to (rice, quinoa, bulgar). It is supposed to be “toothsome.” If you like your grain softer you can soak it overnight – this will reduce the chewiness. Also, make sure you cook it at least 60 minutes. If you under cook it, it will also be chewy.
Q Can you prepare farro in either a rice cooker or a crock pot?
A: I have had a few customers tell me that it cooks fine in a Rice Cooker. I personally have not done this. I am not sure what the ratio would be but I would treat it similar to wild rice. I do cook emmer in pressure cooker- If you are just cooking emmer alone I would just put it in a bunch of water or stock with a pinch of salt and drain after 15 minutes of cooking. I also make soups in the crock pot using Emmer.
Q: I just bought some cracked emmer on your website to use as a hot cereal, and I was just wondering if you had any advice or suggestions as to how to cook it. Is it necessary to soak it before cooking to shorten cooking time and/or improve digestibility, or can it just be cooked immediately before serving, as one would do with cracked wheat or oatmeal?
A: There are cooking instructions on the back of the package. Cracked Emmer cooks in about 12-15 minutes. It is not necessary to soak before cooking, but you can and it will shorten the cooking time. I have a few customers who like to soak it in milk overnight, and then heat it up in the morning. It should be served immediately after cooking.
We like to put shredded coconut, fruit and yogurt on our cooked emmer. Our kids love it- it is kind of like a healthier version of cream of wheat! .
Q: Can you grind emmer berries in a coffee grinder?
A: We would not recommend it.