While barley’s main uses come in commercial livestock food and fermenting in beverages, like beer, barley can have a great use in your kitchen as well. You often find “pearled barely” in the bulk bins which is hulled barely that has had the bran removed however you will occasionally see hulless barely which takes longer to cook (but it also less processed.) Furthermore, you can also find barley flakes, similar to oatmeal shape, which makes a great hot breakfast in the morning!
I love the unique slightly nutty taste of barley that works well holding up in a salad or soup. Cooking instructions for all the types of barley can be found here. Beyond the great taste, Barley also has numerous has numerous health benefits!
My Recipes for Barley:
Recipes from around the web:
- Beet and Barley Salad from The Yellow House
- Pearl Barley and Feta Oven Pie from Cook Republic
- Pearl Barley Risotto with Wild Garlic and Nut from The Kitchen Finesse
- Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Red Peppers
- Roasted Beets and Squash Goat Cheese Barley from Running to the Kitchen
- Goat Cheese and Spinach Barley Risotto from Shop, Cook, Make
- Baked Pearl Barley Porridge from Scandi Foodie
Bulgur was one of the first bulk bin items I fell in love with. The nutty and chewy texture holds up well as a meat sub in my favorite chili and sloppy joe. Bulgur is simply broken down wheat berries that have part of the bran removed and are precooked which is what distinguishes bulgur from cracked wheat. Bulgur also comes in different grinds and more often than not, the bulgur you find in your bulk-bin is fine-ground.
Bulgur can be cooked ahead of time and either frozen or refrigerated until ready to use. It makes a great addition to soups, casseroles, pilafs, and even veggie burgers! Because bulgur comes from pre-cooked wheat berries, cooking time is drastically reduced. Cooking instructions and more information about different grinds can be found here.
My Recipes for Bulgur:
Farro can be a slightly confusing grain as the name has been used to refer to a few different grains, all wheat based. There is Farro (which is the smallest), Emmer (medium), and Spelt (largest.) More often than not the bulk bins carry Emmer. Spelt is often labeled as such and I tend to not substitute spelt for farro as I feel the taste and texture is a bit different. Like other wheat based grains, Farro has a lovely nutty and chewy texture.
Cooking farro is simple and does not take too long. I’ve recently fallen in love with using farro in place of arborio rice in risottos. Farro makes a great addition to soups and can even be made in to a breakfast porridge.
My Recipes for Farro
Recipes for Farro
- Farro and Millet Risotto from 101 Cookbooks
- Sweet Potato and Gorgonzola Farro Risotto from myself
- Warm Farro Salad from the Kitchn
- Farro with Broccoli and Shiitakes from Umami Girl
- Farro Masala from Running with Tweezers
- Spicy Japanese Farro Salad from the Tomato Tart
- Cracked Farro Porridge from Lunchbox Bunch
Israeli Couscous (Ptitim and pearl couscous), while technically not a grain, is a delicious and convenient wheat-based product that was originally created to be a substitute when rice was scared in Israeli. Couscous (not technically a grain, but still wheat product). You can also find whole wheat and spelt cous cous, although slightly more rare in the bulk bins. Israeli Couscous and Moroccan Couscous (often just labeled couscous in the bulk-bins) have two major differences. Israeli couscous is larger than that of the Moroccan and the Israeli couscous is toasted (which I think adds a bit of flavor.) Both are delicious and can be used in a variety of ways.
Israeli coucous is often akin to pasta and cooks up in about the same time (which is quick compared to a lot of other grains found in the bulk bins.) Cooking instructions can be found here.
- Israeli Couscous Salad from Use Real Butter
- Butternut Squash and Chickpea Stew with Israeli Couscous from Pinch my Salt
- Israeli Couscous with Kale and Green Garlic Dressing
- Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Asparagus, Artichokes, and Spinach from Two Peas and Their Pod
- Lentil and Pearl Couscous with Mint from A Couple Cooks
Kamut (which is trademarked) is fairly new to the United States, even though it is possibly one of the oldest grains grown in Egypt. Kamut is closely related to duram wheat. Kamut is often noted as having a slightly sweeter and buttery taste than that of the wheat berry which makes it a good fit for salads. Kamut can also be milled down in to flour. Kamut is also larger in size than wheat and contains more protein (which is why some people prefer it to traditional wheat.) You can also find Kamut couscous and bulgur in some areas.
It is recommended to soak Kamut over night which will drastically decrease cooking time (which instructions can be found here.) Like many other grains, Kamut can be cooked up and then stored in the freezer in a safe container. Occasionally I will use Kamut in place of wheat berries in salads and stews.
Recipes for Kamut:
- Golden Kamut Shortbread from Sea Salt with Food (Flour)
- Kamut Cookies from Deliciously Organic
- Kamut, Kale, and Cabbage Soup from Luna Cafe
- Kamut Salad from Food O’ Del Mundo
- Oven Baked Zucchini filled with Kamut, Olives, and Herbs from Lucullian Delights
Before I really started eating from the bulk bins, my only association with rye was the bread my grandmother would make. Rye flour comes from rye berries. Rye is closely related to both barley and wheat but has a unique taste that I find to be a tad stronger than wheat. Rye comes in berries, cracked form, flakes (akin to oatmeal), and flour.
Rye makes a good substitute for wheat berries and rice in salads and even some heartier dishes. I find that I mostly use the flakes and the flour but the berries have great potential uses! With most other grains, I soak the rye berries overnight and then cook according to the directions. If I have extra, I often freeze and save for later. Rye Flakes cook up like oatmeal but take a bit more time.
My recipes with rye (mainly flour):
If I had to name the one thing I buy most in bulk, it would be wheat berries. At first I only would use wheat berries in salads and pilafs in place of rice but once I started grinding my own flour, wheat berries became my best friend. Wheat berries are the whole wheat kernel that has been hulled. Wheat berries are great because they are minimally processed and still have many of their nutrients left in intact (whereas, white bleached flour would be the complete opposite.)
There are two overall types of wheat berries: hard and soft. The soft tend to be a little more friendly when cooked whereas the hard never loose their chewy texture. Both the hard and soft wheat berries have red and white varieties (but really there is no major difference. Cooking instructions for wheat berries can be found here.
For milling flour, the hard wheat berries are great for your regular wheat flour while the soft wheat berries are perfect for a whole wheat pastry flour. I’ve learned to experiment with different wheat berries to find which ones I like best for my flour!
My Recipes for Wheat Berries:
Recipes from around the web:
- Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl from 101 Cookbooks
- Winter Wheat Berry Salad from Adrienne Eats
- Stuffed Vegetables with Wheat Berries, Pesto,and Chickpeas from Cookie and Kate
- Roasted Root Vegetable and Wheat Berry Salad from David Lebovitz
- Winter Wheat Berry Salad with Figs and Red Onion from The Kitchn
*Also, here is my post about my grain mill. Since receiving this mill, I haven’t bought flour and it’s been great!
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