Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Have you tried farro?

I discovered farro the other day while shopping at Whole Foods. It's a relative of wheat but is more easily digestible and has a great flavor. It's also known as Emmer.  Farro is sometimes referred to as spelt.  From what I understand they aren't the same thing, but are closely related. Having said that, if you're doing baking, farro and spelt flours may not be interchangeable.  In any case, farro has an interesting history. It's an ancient grain that fed the Roman legions and it has a high nutritional value. Nutrition data for a ½ cup of raw farro is:
  • 170 calories
  • 1.5 g of fat
  • 0 g saturated fat
  • 0 mg of sodium
  • 34 g of carbohydrates
  • 5 g of dietary fiber
  • 2 mg of iron
  • 6 g of protein
  • 4 mg of niacin
  • 60 mg of magnesium
  • 2 mg zinc

Image from Bluebird Grain Farms
I've purchased whole grain farro from Whole Foods, but theirs is exported from Italy and is pricey.  I found Bluebird Grain Farms, a family owned farm in Washington, that sells their farro and other grains online.  I like to support family farms.

According to their site, farro is prepared like brown rice, cooks in 50-60 minutes or can be soaked overnight to reduce the cooking time. It makes a fabulous pilaf, grain salad, risotto, it can be added to soups, and sprouted or ground for breads. When cooked, it adds a sweet, full-bodied flavor and a chewy texture that I really enjoy.

I wanted to make muffins yesterday so I decided to grind the whole grain farro into a flour using my Vita-Mix.  This was the first time I've tried making my own flour and it was strangely empowering! I know, strange. Anyway, here's the muffin recipe that I made yesterday, taken from the Vita-Mix cookbook, with a few revisions:

Farro Muffins with Fruit and Carrots

  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) whole farro
  • 1 tsp. flaxseed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) carrots, cut in pieces
  • 1 cup (240 mL) pineapple chunks, whole strawberries or total juice (or 1 large orange, peeled) I used the orange
  • 1 Tbs. light olive or grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) light brown sugar, packed (I used about 1/8 cup agave nectar)
  • 1 to 2 egg whites (optional - use with thick mixtures such as those using orange or carrot) I used 1 whole egg

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Lightly coat a 6 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Place whole kernel farro and flaxseed in the Vita-Mix container.  Secure lid. Select Variable speed #1.  Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to #10; then to high.  Run for 1 minute.
  3. Add cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Replace the Lid.  Blend for 5 seconds.  Pour into a large mixing bowl.  If desired, add raisins.
  4. Place desired fruit or juice, carrot pieces, oil, brown sugar and, if desired, egg whites into the Vita-Mix container.  Select variable, speed #1.  Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to #10, then to High.  Run 10 to 15 seconds. Pour fruit mixture into the flour mixture.  Stir until smooth and all ingredients are moistened.  I added walnuts too at this point.  Spoon into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup full.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 minutes.  Makes 8 muffins.
  6. Note: Do not decrease the oil measurement.  It is the minimum amount needed to produce a moist muffin.  If you use honey or decrease the brown sugar the muffins will taste of soda.
The muffins came out moist and tasty.  Thumbs up from my hubby and son. Enjoy.

1 Muffin has 159 calories, 3 g. fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 0g cholesterol, 3.8 g. fiber, 4.5 g. protein, 12.7 g. sugar, 50% RDA of Vitamin A

Vita-Mix cookbook

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a good recipe, but I'm confused about the instructions regarding egg whites. Are the eggs optional? Or the egg whites optional? My son is allergic to eggs, so I can only make these if the eggs are completely optional. Thanks!