What is Farro?

Ancient Italian Farro Grain Farm

 

Farro is a term that refers to three types of ancient wheat: Einkorn, Emmer, and Spelt. These grains have been cultivated for thousands of years and have a rich history and nutritional profile. Let’s explore what makes these grains farro, how they differ from each other, and what benefits they offer.

 

What Makes a Grain Farro?

 

Farro is not a specific grain, but rather a category that includes three species of hulled wheat: Einkorn (Triticum monococcum), Emmer (Triticum dicoccum), and Spelt (Triticum Spelta). Hulled wheat means that the grains have a tough outer layer that protects them from pests and diseases, but also makes them harder to process. This layer has to be removed before the grains can be milled into flour or cooked as whole grains.

The term farro comes from the Italian word for wheat, which is derived from the Latin word farrum. However, different regions use the word farro differently. Some use it to refer to Einkorn, some to refer to Emmer, and some to refer to Spelt. To avoid confusion, it is helpful to specify which type of farro you are using or buying by adding the Italian name after it: Farro Piccolo (Einkorn), Farro Medio (Emmer), or Farro Grande (Spelt).

 

What Are The Three Types of Farro?

 

Einkorn, Emmer, and Spelt are all ancient forms of wheat that have not been hybridized or modified like modern wheat varieties. They have distinct characteristics that make them unique:

1. Farro Piccolo (Einkorn) is the oldest and rarest of the three farro species. It was domesticated about 5000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East, where it was one of the first crops to be grown by humans. Einkorn is a small grain with a golden color and a nutty flavor. It has a sweet taste and a light texture that makes it suitable for baking breads and cakes. Einkorn has a high protein content and is rich in antioxidants such as lutein. It also has less gluten than other types of wheat, which makes it easier to digest for some people.

 

Einkorn Farro Close Up

 

2. Farro Medio (Emmer) is the most common variety of farro grown in Italy, especially in Tuscany and Abruzzo, where it is known simply as farro. Emmer was also domesticated in the Fertile Crescent anciently, but it spread more widely than Einkorn across Europe, Africa, and Asia. Emmer is a larger grain with a brown color and a chewy texture. It has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture that works well in soups, salads, risottos, and pilafs. Emmer has a high protein content and a low gluten content compared to modern wheat varieties, and is classified as durum wheat, which makes it great for making pastas.

 

Emmer Farro Close Up

 

3. Farro Grande (Spelt) is more widely cultivated in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, where it is known as dinkel or dinkelweizen. Spelt was probably derived from a hybridization of Emmer and a wild grass a few thousand years ago. It is an even larger grain than Emmer, with a light brown color and a mild flavor. Spelt has a lower protein content than Einkorn or Emmer but still higher than modern wheat varieties. It also has a stronger gluten than both Einkorn or Emmer, which makes it rise much better when baking bread loaves.

 

Spelt Farro Close Up

 

Today, when someone speaks of farro, they are generally talking about Emmer wheat.

 

Emmer Farro in Paper Bag

 

What Is The History Of Farro?

 

Farro has been a staple food for many ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, who buried it in their tombs; the Greeks, who associated it with their goddess Demeter; the Romans, who fed it to their soldiers; and the medieval Europeans, who relied on it during famines. Farro was also mentioned in Roman poetry, biblical texts, and Dante’s Inferno.

Ancient Egyptian Wheat Farming
The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians Vol 2
by John Gardner Wilkinson pg 396
Ancient Egyptian Wheat Harvest
The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians Vol 2
by John Gardner Wilkinson pg 419

However, farro gradually lost popularity with the advent of modern wheat varieties that were easier to process and had higher yields. By the 20th century, farro was almost forgotten in most parts of the world, except for some regions where it was still grown on small farms and consumed by local people.

In recent years, farro has seen a resurgence of interest among chefs, health-conscious consumers, and food enthusiasts who appreciate their unique flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits. All three types of farro are available here at Grand Teton Ancient Grains, so you can enjoy them in dishes that celebrate farro’s ancient heritage and modern appeal.

 

What Are The Nutritional Benefits Of Eating Farro?

 

Farro offers many benefits for health-conscious consumers who want to enjoy whole grains. Here are some of the benefits you may get from including farro in your diet:

  • Farro is high in fiber. Fiber helps regulate digestion, lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, prevent constipation, and promote weight loss.
  • Farro is high in protein. Protein helps build muscle, repair tissue, support the immune system, and maintain healthy hair, skin, nails, hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.
  • Farro is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals are essential for blood production, bone health, and immune function respectively.
  • Farro contains vitamins such as B3 (niacin). Niacin helps convert food into energy and keeps the nervous system healthy.
  • Farro provides antioxidants such as lutein. Lutein protects cells from damage and supports eye health.

As you can see, farro is not only delicious but also nutritious. It can help you meet your daily requirements for fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins.

 

Farro: Versatile and Delicious Grains for Your Kitchen

 

Now that we have learned about what farro is, where it came from, and how nutritious it is for us, let’s talk about how we can add it to our daily diet. Farro has been used for centuries in different cuisines, especially in Italy. It can be used to make breads, cakes, soups, risottos, salads, and more. Today, all three types of farro are available here at Grand Teton Ancient Grains, so you can use them to create delicious meals at home. Try some of these farro recipe ideas and rediscover these ancient grains that have been enjoyed for centuries!

 

Here are some farro recipe ideas for you to try:

 

Make a comforting chicken noodle soup with farro and chicken. You can use cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Cook farro (Einkorn, Emmer or Spelt all work perfectly) in chicken broth with carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper until tender. Add the chicken and some fresh parsley and enjoy this classic soup with a twist.  Don’t have farro pasta on hand?  Make your own with our Einkorn Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe!

 

Einkorn Chicken Noodle Soup

 

Make a refreshing salad with popped farro and fresh ingredients. Did you know you can pop Einkorn by frying it in coconut oil?  Use popped Einkorn as a crunchy topping for your favorite salad.  We love it on this Arugula Steak Salad with Bleu Cheese and Popped Einkorn.

 

Arugula Steak Salad with Bleu Cheese and Popped Einkorn

 

Make a flakey biscuit with farro and organic coconut oil. You can use freshly ground Spelt flour to make biscuits that are tender and delicious. They are simple to make and bake in about 15 minutes. You can add some cheese, garlic, or your favorite herbs for extra flavor. Try Spelt Baking Powder Biscuits with dinner tonight!

 

Spelt Baking Powder Biscuits

 

Make a creamy risotto with farro and cheese. You can use any cheese you like, such as Parmesan, Gruyere, or blue cheese. Cook farro in vegetable broth until al dente and stir in butter and cheese at the end. You can also add some white wine or lemon juice for extra flavor.

 

Einkorn Farro Risotto

 

Make a vibrant salad with farro and green beans. You can blanch fresh green beans or use frozen ones and toss them with cooked farro, cherry tomatoes, dates, sausages, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  You can use whole grain farro berries; Einkorn, Emmer, or Spelt works perfectly. This Einkorn and Green Bean Salad is great for picnics or potlucks.

 

Einkorn and Green Bean Salad

 

Make a moist chocolate cake with farro and beets. I know it sounds strange to make chocolate cake with beets but trust me, this recipe is amazing. You can use Organic All-Purpose Einkorn Flour to make a chocolate beet cake that is rich and healthy. Finish it with chocolate frosting and lots of sprinkles for extra indulgence. This Einkorn Chocolate Beet Cake is delicious, and vegetables too!

 

Einkorn Chocolate Beet Cake

 

Make soft sandwich bread with farro and yeast. You can make wholesome homemade bread with only 5 simple ingredients including Organic All-Purpose Einkorn Flour. You can add some maple syrup for sweetness or some oats or seeds for texture.  This White Einkorn Sandwich Bread Loaf is perfect for toast, sandwiches, or hot out of the oven with melted butter on it.

 

White Einkorn Sandwich Bread Loaf

 

Make a crispy pizza with farro and fresh toppings. You can use Whole Grain Einkorn Flour to make the perfect pizza crust that’s crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Spread some pizza sauce over the crust, sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese, add your favorite toppings and bake in a hot oven until bubbly.

 

Crispy Farro Pizza

 

Make a crispy snack with farro and cheese. You can use our Organic All-Purpose Einkorn Flour to make parmesan herb crackers that are crunchy and savory. Experiment with different herbs and cheeses to make the perfect cracker for you.  These Einkorn Parmesan Herb Crackers are the perfect choice if you’re looking for a healthier snack option.

 

Einkorn Parmesan Herb Crackers from Savor the Best

 

Make delicious scones with farro and fresh blueberries. You can use our Organic All-Purpose Einkorn Flour to make lemon blueberry scones that are tender and sweet. Make a lemon glaze with powdered sugar and lemon juice to drizzle over the top. These Einkorn Lemon Blueberry Scones are so yummy we just had to share them with you!

 

Einkorn Lemon Blueberry Scones

 

As you can see, Farro grains are delicious and can be used in many ways. They are also nutritious and satisfying, providing protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Whether you use Farro for soups, salads, breads, or desserts, they will add a nutty flavor and a chewy texture to your dishes. Order your farro from Grand Teton Ancient Grains today and start putting your own modern twist on these ancient grains!

How do you like to use farro in your everyday cooking? Leave a comment below and tell us your favorites!

7 thoughts on “What is Farro?”

  1. Wow, that was very thorough. I’ve cooked with farro before but I thought it was one variety of wheat. What I bought was labeled “Farro”. I didn’t know there was more than one type of wheat that fit into the farro label. I love the recipe ideas at the bottom. Really cool. And some of them you can click on and they go to actual recipes. I’m definitely trying out the scones recipe.

    1. Grand Teton Ancient Grains

      Hi Lacy T. Thank you for your comments. We plan on having all of the recipe ideas link to recipes soon. Please come back and check for them. And don’t forget to order some Organic All-Purpose Einkorn Flour to make those scones with.

      1. Hi,
        Can you explain the difference between whole grain einkorn and all-purpose einkorn? A lot of the recipes that I have found for einkorn calls for all purpose, can I use fresh milled instead? Thank you

        1. Grand Teton Ancient Grains

          Hi Shelley, our whole grain flour is just the berries ground into flour with nothing removed or added. Our all-purpose is like the whole grain, except that we sift off the largest pieces, which typically includes much of the bran. Our all-purpose flour is different from the flour you buy at the store because it includes the germ — a great source of nutrition and flavor — but it is much lighter and finer than our whole grain flour.

  2. Thank you for explaining about the types of faro and their origin, glycemic index, vitamins and minerals in comparison with the regular grains and in between themselves. I always thought spelt had very little gluten so bread will not rise but now I am ready to bake bread with 100% spelt flower. I cook all my waffles, pancakes and crepes with einkorn and spelt and it never lets me down. I do not feel heavy or dizzy after eating these dishes. If you use 100% einkorn, baked goods turn golden color. Just beautiful and tasty.

    1. Grand Teton Ancient Grains

      Hi Laura. We are glad you found that information helpful. Let us know how your Spelt baking goes. We love hearing your ancient grains baking success stories!

  3. I like this article, even more I like having finally found a site that offers ancient grains! Here in the UK I had already lost hope! Ancient grains are healthier, as modern ones have been manipulated a lot to obtain puffier products as they are rich in gluten. Too bad we also get bloated eating them! Not to mention the allergies and intolerances to gluten that we find in more and more people, is it possible that no one is asking two questions?

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