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Farro is an age-old grain with a delicious nutty flavor and a satisfying chewy texture. It is rich in protein, fiber, iron, and antioxidants, making it a nutritious and delicious meal addition. Farro can be cooked in various ways, such as boiling, baking, or steaming, but a rice cooker is one of the easiest and most convenient methods.
In this blog post, we will show you how to cook Farro in a rice cooker in easy steps and some tips and variations to make your Farro even more tasty.
What is Farro?
Farro is a term that refers to three different types of wheat: einkorn, emmer, and spelled. These are among the oldest cultivated grains in the world, dating back to ancient times. Farro was a staple food for many civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Today, Farro is popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, as well as in health-conscious diets.
Is Farro Gluten Free?
Please note that Farro contains gluten and is unsuitable for individuals who follow a gluten-free diet. This is because it contains gluten proteins that could cause digestive problems or allergic reactions for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
However, Farro has lower levels of gluten than modern wheat varieties, and some people may find it easier to digest than other grains. If you are still determining whether you can eat Farro safely, consult your doctor before trying it.
4 Different Types of Farro
There are four different types of Farro that you may encounter in the market or online. They differ in size, shape, texture, cooking time, and nutritional value. Here are the four types of Farro and their characteristics:
1. Whole grain Farro
Whole grain farro is the least processed type of Farro, as it retains its outer bran layer. This makes it the most nutritious and flavorful type of Farro but also the hardest and longest to cook. Whole grain farro may take up to an hour to cook on the stovetop and requires soaking overnight or at least 8 hours before cooking. Whole grain farro has a dark brown color and a very chewy texture.
2. Pearled Farro
Pearled Farro is the most common type of Farro available in the US. It is also called semi-pearled or semi-perlato Farro. Pearled Farro has its outer bran layer partially or completely removed, which reduces its cooking time and makes it softer and lighter in color. Pearled Farro does not need soaking before cooking and can be cooked on the stovetop for 15 to 25 minutes. Pearled Farro has a creamy white color and a slightly chewy texture.
Freekeh is a type of Farro harvested when the grains are still green and immature. The grains are then roasted over an open fire, which gives them a smoky flavor and aroma. Freekeh has a similar nutritional profile to whole grain farro but with higher levels of protein and fiber. Freekeh does not need soaking before cooking and can be cooked in about 20 to 25 minutes on the stovetop. Freekeh has a greenish-brown color and a firm texture.
4. Emmer Farro
Emmer farro is a specific type of emmer wheat that is grown in Italy, especially in the regions of Tuscany and Umbria. It is also known as farro dicocco or Triticum dicoccum. Emmer farro has a protected designation of origin (PDO) status in Europe, meaning only emmer wheat grown in certain areas can be labeled emmer farro.
Emmer Farro has a nutty and earthy flavor and a high protein content. Emmer farro needs soaking before cooking and can be cooked in about 30 to 40 minutes on the stovetop. Emmer Farro has a light brown color and a chewy texture.
How to Cook Farro in a Rice Cooker in Easy Steps
Cooking Farro in a rice cooker is simple and convenient, as you don’t need to monitor the heat or water level while it cooks. You can use any type of Farro for this method, but remember that different Farro types may have different water ratios and cooking times. Here are the basic steps for cooking Farro in a rice cooker:
Grab All Ingredients
To cook Farro in a rice cooker, you will need:
- 1 cup of dry Farro (any type)
- 2 cups of water or broth (adjust according to the type of Farro and your preference)
- A pinch of salt (optional)
- A rice cooker with a measuring cup and a spatula
Instructions to Make Tasty Farro
To make tasty Farro in a rice cooker, follow these instructions:
- Rinse the Farro thoroughly with cold water and ensure all water is drained. If you are using whole grain or emmer farro, soak them overnight or for at least 8 hours before rinsing and draining.
- Add the Farro, water or broth, and salt (if using) to the rice cooker pot. Stir well to combine.
- Please close the lid on the rice cooker and turn it on. Set it to the white rice or regular cycle, or use the manual setting if your rice cooker has one. The cooking time may vary depending on the type of Farro and the rice cooker model, but it usually takes 15 to 60 minutes.
- When the rice cooker switches to the keep warm mode, let the farro rest for 10 minutes before opening the lid. Fluff the Farro with a spatula and serve hot or cold.
Tips & Variations of Farro
Farro is a versatile grain used in many dishes, such as salads, soups, stews, risottos, pilafs, or as a side dish. You can also customize your Farro by adding different ingredients or flavors to make it more interesting and delicious. Here are some tips and variations of Farro that you can try:
1. Toast Before Start Cooking
Toasting the Farro before cooking can enhance its nutty flavor and aroma. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat to toast the Farro and add the dry Farro. Stir constantly for 10 minutes or until the grains are golden and fragrant. Transfer the toasted Farro to the rice cooker pot and proceed with the rest.
2. Mix Flavors
You can add different herbs, spices, or aromatics to the rice cooker pot along with the Farro, water or broth, and salt. For example, add some garlic cloves, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs, or lemon zest for a Mediterranean flair. Add curry powder, turmeric, cumin, or coriander for an Indian twist. Experiment with different combinations and find your favorite flavor.
3. Drizzle with Olive Oil
Drizzling extra virgin olive oil over the cooked Farro can add richness and moisture to the grain. Olive oil also pairs well with many ingredients you can add to your Farro, such as cheese, nuts, dried fruits, fresh herbs, or vegetables. You can also use other types of oil, such as coconut oil, sesame oil, or walnut oil, for different flavors.
Farro is an ancient grain with many health benefits and culinary uses. You can cook Farro in a rice cooker in easy steps by following this guide:
- Rinse and soak the Farro if needed
- Add the Farro, water or broth, and salt to the rice cooker pot
- Set the rice cooker to white rice or regular cycle
- Let the farro rest for 10 minutes after cooking
- Fluff and serve
You can also try some tips and variations of Farro to make it more tasty and interesting:
- Toast the Farro before cooking
- Mix flavors with herbs, spices, or aromatics
- Drizzle with olive oil
We hope you enjoyed this blog post on how to cook Farro in a rice cooker. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.
Is Farro healthier than rice?
Farro and rice are healthy grains providing carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and minerals. However, Farro has some advantages over rice in terms of nutrition. Farro has more protein and fiber than most types of rice, which can help you feel fuller and more satisfied after eating. Farro also has more iron and antioxidants than rice, supporting your immune system and preventing oxidative stress.
How much water does it take to make 1 cup of spelled flour?
Spelled flour is another name for pearled farro flour, made by grinding pearled Farro into a fine powder. To make 1 cup of spelled flour from dry pearled Farro, you will need about 1/4 cup of water. To cook 1 cup of spelled flour in a rice cooker, you will need about 2 cups of water.
Do you need to rinse Farro before cooking?
Rinsing Farro before cooking can help remove any dust or debris that may be present on the grains. Rinsing can also reduce Farro’s starch content, making it easier to digest for some people. However, rinsing is not mandatory, and you can skip it. The most important thing is to soak the whole grain or emmer Farro before cooking, which will soften the grains and reduce the cooking time.
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