Farro is a critical component of the Mediterranean diet, which is often regarded as the healthiest way of eating in the world. Farro’s nutty flavor and chewy texture make it versatile and adaptable to various cuisines. Farro is another name for it, and others call it misspelled. Aside from the name, this nutrient-dense grain can be traced back to early Mesopotamia (20,000 years ago, people!). While it’s been a staple in Europe for decades, particularly in Italy, it’s also gaining popularity in the United States among vegetarians and families searching for inexpensive weekday meals.
This nutritious whole grain has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture, ideal for risotto-style recipes, soups, stews, casseroles, and salutes. Farro is a type of grain in the wheat family known in Latin as Triticum dicoccum if you want to get technical. Triticum spelta, on the other hand, is the scientific name for spelling. Farro is also known (correctly) as emmer in some circles. Farro is a grain that is high in nutrients. It’s high in protein, fiber, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, and several B vitamins. It’s a far better choice than white rice or other processed grains.
What is Farro?
Farro is a high-protein, high-fiber ancient whole-grain wheat that resembles barley but has a little larger, oblong grain. Farro, like barley, retains a significant amount of chew when cooked. Farro and barley can be used interchangeably in most recipes, and Farro is a gluten-containing wheat product.
Farro is an ancient grain, which the Oldways Whole Grains Council defines as a grain “essentially unmodified over the last few hundred years,” like other grains witnessing a rebirth in modern American kitchens, including Kamut, kaniwa, and freekeh. 1 This is in contrast to current wheat, which has undergone genetic manipulation and cross-breeding to optimize production and profitability in most processed grocery-store items.
How to Cook Farro?
Farro is almost commonly marketed pearled in the United States, which means the bran has been removed, requiring a shorter boiling time than whole farro, which has the bran intact, or semi-pearled farro, which has some bran but maintains some and is the most frequent variation found in Italy. Farro, like other grains, is simple to cook on the stove; however, for convenience, you might choose to use a rice cooker or a pressure cooker.
Most manufacturers recommend soaking the entire farro overnight to cut down on cooking time. You can skip the overnight soak for pearled and semi-pearled farro, but it’s still good to soak it for as long as possible, whether 30 minutes, an hour, or more. Cook farro in a 1:2.5 or 1:3 ratio, or 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water or broth for each 1 cup of dry farro.
If you soak it overnight, the farro will be al dente in 10 to 15 minutes. Start checking the farro after around 25 or 30 minutes if you didn’t soak it. You can cut the cooking time in half without soaking the whole farro by first cracking it in a spice grinder or food processor to split the hard outer shell.
How and Where do you Buy Farro?
Farro can be found in bulk in well-stocked natural grocers and health food stores or packages in your local supermarket’s baking department or cereal aisle. It’s also available to buy online. Farro shopping isn’t as straightforward as you may think, and studying the box won’t help (unless you know exactly what you’re looking for). Even though farro media is by far the most popular in the United States, there are three typical varieties of farro to look for in the supermarket:
- Einkorn a.k.a. farro piccolo
- Emmer a.k.a. farro medio
- Spelt a.k.a. farro grande
How farro is processed determines its flavor and, most importantly, cook time.
This is what you’ll find in most grocery stores in the United States. Although it lacks the flavor of other varieties, it has the quickest cooking time (which explains why most people love it).
This version is the best of both worlds, with half of the grain intact and a reduced cook time.
This version has the most potent nutrients per serving and the wealthiest flavor because the grain is still intact. Whole farro takes at least 30 minutes to cook, even after soaking the grains overnight.
How to Store Faroo?
Uncooked pearled farro can be stored in the pantry for three months and in the freezer for six months in its unopened package. Keep any unused portion of the packaging in an airtight container away from moisture and light once you’ve opened it. Unprocessed farro, also known as whole farro, can be stored in an airtight container for a year in a cool, dark, dry pantry. Refrigerate any leftover cooked farro in an airtight container and use it within three days.
Airtight containers with tight-fitting lids or closures should be used to store all whole grains. The type of container is a personal choice. Canisters made of glass, plastic, or metal and zip-top plastic bags can all be used successfully as long as they are airtight.
Is Farro Healthier than Rice?
Yes, in a word. “In terms of nutrient profile, farro is comparable to quinoa. It has a higher plant-based protein content than rice,” explains Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. If you can’t decide between quinoa and farro, listen to your taste buds: “The beauty of choosing farro over other 100 percent whole-grains is its heartiness and nutty flavor.” These grains’ fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc will keep you satisfied.
Consuming 100% whole grains like farro can help lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Some of these mineral-rich grains will help you de-puff your body by counteracting salt if you suffer from bloating. By “increasing the integrity of the immune-protecting bacteria that currently exist within your GI tract,” they also help your immune system.
Varieties of Farro
Spelled, emmer, and einkorn are three varieties of ancient wheat grains referred to as farro. Farro grande for spelled, farro medium for emmer, and farro piccolo for einkorn may be found on packages imported from Italy; emmer is the most prevalent variation available in U.S. supermarkets. You may also buy farro whole, which is the healthiest option; semi-pearled, which has some of the bran removed; or pearled, which has all of the bran removed and is the quickest to cook.
What Does Farro Taste Like?
Farro has a chewy texture and a nutty flavor with a hint of cinnamon, making it ideal for salads, soups, and side dishes. It, like other grains, takes on the flavor of a dressing or sauce, making it an excellent base for recipes that layer flavors, such as protein bowls. Before cooking the grains in liquid, toast them until fragrant and golden on a dry skillet to enhance the nutty flavor. Farro resembles lighter brown rice in appearance and flavor, and it has a nutty, rich flavor with oat and barley undertones. On the other hand, Farro lacks the weight of many whole-wheat grains, making it more elegant than sincere.
Farro is whole grain high in protein and fiber and has ancient roots. It is also high in nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. That means it should (if it isn’t already) be a pantry staple. Farro, like quinoa, has a higher plant-based protein content than rice, according to Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. If you can’t decide between quinoa and farro, listen to your taste buds: “The beauty of choosing farro over other 100 percent whole-grains is its heartiness and nutty flavor.” These grains’ fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc will keep you satisfied.
The same may be said about farro, quinoa, polenta, and pasta. However, after about three months, the texture of grains begins to deteriorate, becoming more authoritarian, similar to the beans we discussed earlier. The longer you store them, the more probable they will become infested by minor pantry bugs. Farro, also known as ‘Chaplin’ in India, is a whole grain that boasts a plethora of nutrients and is being hailed as the next super grain to hit the market.