Freekeh is an immature durum wheat which has been roasted and rubbed to create its characteristic smoky flavor.

Freekeh


What is Freekeh?

Freekeh is an ancient form of wheat grain, similar looking to bulgur. Also known as Green Wheat, Frikeh, Frekeh, Farik, or Firik, it is immature durum wheat (Triticum turgidum var. durum) which has been roasted and rubbed to create its characteristic smoky flavor.

The term freekeh, meaning “rubbed” in Arabic, refers to a step in freekeh production when the wheat grains are rubbed to remove their hulls.

Origin

Freekeh dates back to 2300 B.C. Levantine people, mainly from Lebanon and Egypt, regarded it as a staple and used it in preparing grain-based meals. It has also been mentioned in the Bible. It is still popular today in Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Anecdotally, freekeh came about after an Eastern Mediterranean city was set on fire, burning their wheat crops. In an attempt to salvage their crops and avoid starvation, they discovered that rubbing the burnt hulls left behind a robust tasting grain.

Function

Although an ancient wheat with positive health properties, freekeh has been used to a limited extent in baking and dry fruit-based cereal bars in some East Mediterranean countries. Its high water absorption rate - especially at high temperatures - calls for careful dough handling.

Nutrition

Freekeh is composed of approximately:

  • 77% carbohydrates
  • 12.7% protein
  • 16.5% dietary fiber
  • Small amounts of Vitamin A, B1, B2, C and E

Compared to wheat, it contains much higher protein and antioxidant levels (mainly phenolic acid and vitamins).1,4

Freekeh has more protein and twice as much fiber as quinoa. It also has a high content of fructooligosaccharides and fructose-rich polymers. These compounds are recognized for their positive effects on human diets including antitumuoral, immunostimulating and prebiotic effects. Products produced with freekeh can be considered a functional food.2,3

Commercial Production

The traditional production method includes cutting the wheat sheaves during the early stage of maturity. Once the wheat sheaves are cut, they are dried for 2-4 hours. Following drying, the sheaves and leafy materials...


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