Farro is truly ancient, with roots in the Near East’s Fertile Crescent. Originating in the area that is now Iraq, Iran and Turkey, the grain is known to have been cultivated in various parts of Asia, Europe, Northern Africa and Asia. It’s a simple grain of 28 chromosomes that pre-dates spelt. It is prepared like brown rice and cooks in 50-60 minutes (or can be soaked overnight to reduce the cooking time). Farro is chewy and keeps its structure without becoming soft as it cooks. Farro is nutty, with notes of cashew and cinnamon. The cinnamon makes it taste a little bit sweet, while the nutty flavor gives it some warmth.It makes a fabulous pilaf, grain salad, risotto, addition to soup, or sprouted for breads and salads. When cooked, its dark, plump berries add sweet, full-bodied flavor, chewy texture, and high nutritional value (over 16% protein) to every meal. It is a lovely, versatile grain that is a staple in our household.
- Today emmer is primarily a relict crop in mountainous areas. Its value lies in its ability to give good yields on poor soils, and its resistance to fungal diseases such as stem rust that are prevalent in wet areas. Emmer is grown in Armenia, Morocco, Spain (Asturias), the Carpathian mountains on the border of Czechia and Slovakia, Albania, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, Greece and Italy. It is also grown in the U.S. as a specialty product. A traditional food plant in Ethiopia, this relatively little-known grain has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.
- In Italy, uniquely, emmer cultivation is well established and even expanding. In the mountainous Garfagnana area of Tuscany emmer (known as farro) is grown by farmers as an IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) product, with its geographic identity protected by law. Production is certified by a co-operative body, the Consorzio Produttori Farro della Garfagnana. IGP-certified farro is widely available in health food shops across Europe, and even in some British supermarkets. The demand for Italian farro has led to competition from non-certified farro, grown in lowland areas and often consisting of a different wheat species, spelt (Triticum spelta).
- One-fourth cup (47 grams) of organic, whole grain emmer farro contains (1, 2Trusted Source):
- Calories: 170
- Carbs: 34 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): 20% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 15% of the RDI
- Zinc: 15% of the RDI
- Iron: 4% of the RDI
- Measure 1 and 1/2 cups farro into a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water.
- Transfer to a medium sized pot that has a lid.
- Add 4 cups water or stock or a combination of both and 1/4 tsp salt.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, until it is softened but still chewy. If there is liquid remaining in the pot, drain it off or save it to add to a soup, stew or sauce.
- Use a fork to gently fluff in the butter or olive oil.