Trying a New Grain: Spelt Berries

I am helping out with creating magazine ads for a series of wellness workshops at our village library. The ads will be published in a new, free publication focusing on healthy living in Westchester, called Nourish.

Early Monday morning, the organizer of the workshops, Karen, and I met in her kitchen to hash out some details about the ads. Since she is a huge proponent of whole foods and conscious eating (she’s a certified health coach), and I have a food blog, we wound up talking about cooking, too.

Our conversation turned to whole grains, and I confessed that despite trying many different preparations, I just didn’t enjoy quinoa. “What about spelt berries?” Karen asked. Um, I don’t know. I had never heard of spelt berries. Spelt is a variety of wheat; “berry” refers to the whole grain kernel. Karen immediately gave me her last quarter cup of spelt berries to cook at home, even though she said she’d been having trouble finding the grain locally lately. (Thank you again, Karen!)

You need to soak the berries overnight, and then simmer them for up to an hour for a more tender product. They are very nutty and surprisingly light-tasting, with a satisfying chewiness. The grains squeaked in my teeth a bit, as they have a slightly rubbery texture (this is not prominent, but it is there). I could see making both sweet (breakfast, with some peanut butter and milk stirred in) and savory (dinner, with roasted butternut squash and goat cheese) meals with this grain. Now I’m on the hunt for more spelt berries, too.