Freekeh is a wheat that is harvested green,
then roasted and smoked. Its early harvesting means it contains little starch
and is a low carbohydrate, low gluten option for soups and stews, an
accompaniment to meat, and as a substitute for rice.
Elbabour’s freekeh is harvested by Nazarene
residents of the Galilee villages in late April and early May, before the crop
fully ripens and turns yellow. The green wheat is roasted on a fire and the
grain removed and dried well. Women clean the grain to remove impurities, and
large sacks of this hand-picked grain are brought to Elbabour for grinding. By
the end of summer, Nazarene families have bags of freekeh, bulgur wheat and
lentils, as well as labaneh (strained yogurt) and olive oil stored. During the
long winter months, they enjoy steaming freekeh soup, thick freekeh with rice,
or luxurious, heavy freekeh with lamb.