(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently a friend of mine introduced me to the grain farro. Have you heard of it? Farro is a type of hulled wheat that is typically used in salads, soups and side dishes. It has sort of a nutty flavor. Farro looks very much like a wheat berry.

The clearest explanation (and the one most useful when shopping) is from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals (Ten Speed Press, 2011), by Maria Speck, who writes that the term farro is “commonly used when referring to three ancient wheat varieties first cultivated in the Fertile Crescent and still grown in Italy: farro piccolo (also known by the German einkorn), farro medio (also known as emmer, the Hebrew word for mother), and farro grande (also known as spelt).”

Emmer wheat, cultivated in biblical times

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most imported Italian farro available in the US is the emmer variety. It cooks up quickly in about 25 minutes. This comes in handy if you are trying to cook up a hot breakfast or a quick dinner. Farro is not gluten-free but is is considerably lower in gluten than commercial wheat varieties. People with mild wheat sensitivities often find it easier to digest.farro growing

I first enjoyed Farro in a cold salad with tomatoes and herbs.farro salad

Doing a search on the Internet will give you all sorts of recipes from salads to soups to everything in between. I found a warm farro cereal recipe that I just had to try. Our mornings are still rather chilly and I enjoy a nice bowl of warm cereal to start my day.

Warm Farro Cereal with Dried Cherries

Serves: 2

½ cup farro
1 cup water
¾ cup coconut milk
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup unsweetened coconut chips
1 tablespoon honey
pinch salt
¼ cup dried cherries

Soak cherries in warm water for five minutes to soften them. Drain and discard water.

Bring the water, coconut milk and salt to a simmer and whisk in the farro. Return to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer  for 35 to 40 minutes, or until farro has absorbed most of the moisture.

While hot cereal is cooking, preheat oven to 325 F. Toast almond slices and coconut chips for 5 minutes or until fragrant and golden.

Toasted almonds and coconut

Once the farro is cooked portion into two small bowls and top with toasted coconut, almonds and dried cherries.  If you’d like top with a drizzle of honey.

Warm Farro Cereal

Serve immediately.

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