Freekeh – pronounced ‘free-kah’ – is native to North Africa and the Middle East, and is produced by harvesting wheat before it matures and burning away the chaff, which imparts a smoky flavour. The grain is then threshed and sundried, resulting in a cracked wheat product with an appearance like a green bulgur.
The company hopes the grain will attract attention in the same way as other ancient grains in recent years, such as amaranth, teff, kamut, millet and buckwheat – all of which have seen a steep rise in sales.
“Ancient grains have experienced a surge in popularity in the UK over the last five years, with increased demand for whole grain and plant-based foods a driving factor,” said the company’s sales director Tasneem Backhouse.
The company says the grain in easily prepared in boiling water and it has an excellent nutritional profile, higher in protein than brown rice, couscous or sweet potato, rich in vitamins and minerals, and with more fibre than many other grains.
Backhouse added that the ingredient has been trialed to ensure its flavour is maintained throughout the food production process.
The name freekeh comes from the Arabic word farīk,which means ‘rubbed’, referring to the threshing process.