RYE: Steamed Rye Berries
Steamed Rye Berries
From the Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood
Makes about 3 cups
I would never sit down to a bowl of plain rye berries, unless, that is, they were first pan-toasted. Then they can serve as a filling start to the day. I don’t cook rye berries with salt as it seems to toughen them, but I do season the dish with a sprinkle of gomasio when ready to serve. You can add cooked rye berries to a salad or casserole. At Shakefork Community Farm, we’ve mixed them with veggies, ground pork, and spices for an excellent squash stuffing and served them with milk and honey for breakfast.
1 cup rye berries
2 cups water or stock
sea salt, to taste
I tablespoon unrefined sesame oil or unsalted butter (optional)
Heat a saucepan or wok over high heat until hot. Add the rye berries and toast, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the berries have turned a shade darker. (Kind-of like popping Ethiopian barley!) Remove from the heat. Pour into a strainer and rinse under running water for 5 seconds or so. Drain the rye, put in a medium saucepan, add the water and let soak for 1 hour or overnight. Bring rye, soaking water, salt, and oil, if using, to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, or until tender. Serve hot. Put any leftover rye in a glass bowl, loosely cover with a cotton cloth, and leave out at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Within a few hours of cooking, the rye may be used in salad; thereafter, use in a stir-fry, stuffing, casserole, or stew.
Note: You may notice small black seeds scattered in Shakefork whole rye berries. These seeds are vetch and totally harmless to eat; they are related to peas. You may hand clean to remove or just cook them up with the berries for added protein!