Farro—What Is It, and Why Should You Care?

Lindsey Metrus

Listen, it's not quinoa's fault that the semantics of the word make it sound pretentious, like fois gras or caviar. On the surface, it's just a grain, really, but like the latter two, it's now regarded as more of a trend than a millennia-old Velcro-shaped crop. With the steadfast rise in commodifying wellness and glamourising nutrition, simple nature-made foods like kale and avocado are publicised—a PR agency was even hired to make kale "cool." It worked.

The latest earth-grown food to garner buzz? Farro. It's an ancient Middle Eastern form of hulled wheat that keeps its kernel during harvest, giving it a barley-like shape instead of a flat grain. The maintained shell provides more nutrition, since the whole grain harbours more essential vitamins, nutrients, fats, oils, and minerals than a refined grain (think whole wheat compared to refined white flour). When you stack these nutrients against each other, you get a host of health benefits: fibre for optimal digestion; magnesium to axe inflammation and period cramps; iron for energy and heart health; and protein to build and repair tissues, to name a few. In other words, when shopping for farro, aim to purchase it in its purest, unhusked form instead of "semipearled"or "pearled" farro in which some of or all of the bran has been removed for speedier cooking. Yes, whole farro may have more of a nuttier, al dente taste and often need to be soaked overnight to soften them for cooking, but the benefits speak for themselves.



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