The 3 Farro's


Triticum monoccocum, Triticum dioccocum, Triticum spelta

The weather is hot most everywhere these days, and even though I have been looking forward to making and baking this summer, firing up the oven is not high on my list right now. And using heat to make food is more like once every other day or longer. 

It is a good time to make tuna fish salad, eat a Costco chicken, and consume copious amounts of ice cream covered in fruit, and robust salads made from ancient grains like this summer farro salad. 

We first served this salad to a wine tasting crowd in Aspen. The response we received from the wine revelers was first, what is this? And; this is nutty, is this rice? Is this barley? This is so good! And of course, Where can I get this? 

With this success we delved deeper into the history of Farro to find out where it came from. And when we found Emmer grown here in Washington that’s when we really got into the "root" of the grain. Farro has been grown here in Eastern Washington for a long time now. Most likely brought here by the German immigrants who settled here. 

Farro describes and includes these three known grains that predate wheat. These “ancestral” grains are physically and nutritionally very different than wheat, especially modern day wheat. 

Triticum monoccocum, known as Farro Piccolo in Italy, and Einkorn as it is popularly known today. It is the oldest known grain (we refer to it as a million years old) and the simplest and the softest in structure of the three. 

Triticum diccocum, (my favorite to say,) known as Farro Medio, and is the fabled Emmer we use in this salad recipe. It is the hardest of the three and the precursor of modern durum. Perhaps 500,000 years old. 

Triticum spelta, Farro Grande in Italy, known as Spelt. And it is often found in packages from Italy as Farro depending on where it is grown. It has the most chromosomes and is most similar to modern soft red bread wheat. 

Because these grains are closest to the original grains, they are as nature first built them. Man perhaps picked them because when domesticated to grow in a“controlled” environment, they did not fall apart as wild grains did. 

As a hulled grain, they need the be threshed like wheat, and the additional process of de-hulling post-harvest. 

From the Fertile Crescent, these original cereal grains are void of mutation from modernization. Classified as a wheat (Triticum) by the FDA, these tall growing, grown up grasses are quite different in the resultant taste than the wheat of the modern world. The Farro’s tall height makes for deeper roots allowing for nutrient superiority in minerals, proteins and antioxidants. 

This perhaps is why Farros are so flavorful with a light pleasant nutty flavor. From risotto to cereal, it works as well as a flour for everyday breads and doughs.