Freekeh is an ancient preparation of wheat going back thousands of years. The key is to harvest the wheat early in the season while it is still green. Its name means “to rub” in Arabic because we rub the green wheat heads in between our hands to gauge whether it’s ready to harvest. The wheat berries must be fully formed yet fresh. If harvested too early, they’ll turn to mush; too late it’ll just be mature wheat. There’s only a week window to harvest at the right time for Freekeh’s peak in nutrition and flavor.
Freekeh is made in small batches using a hands-on traditional process that is mechanized where possible for efficiency but not at the cost of the authenticity of the Freekeh’s distinctive taste. Once the Freekeh is harvested at the peak of its nutrition, it’s grouped into piles to roast with an open flame while flipping the wheat with a pitchfork until the hull is burned away.
There is much speculation about the origins of Freekeh as a food with such a long history where some think it was discovered after a village was burned. For us at Canaan Palestine, Freekeh is yet another representation of our deep-rooted agriculture. It is common for nearly every crop in Palestine to have a use at each stage of its growing season, Freekeh being no exception. Both almonds and tomatoes are eaten green, and garbanzo beans are harvested green and flame roasted as well. The practice of prolonging the season is a natural one here in Palestine and speaks to the creativity that allowed for humans to thrive in Palestine for generations.
Freekeh is finished off by putting the flame-roasted kernels in a heated room to dry out so it can be preserved and enjoyed throughout the year. Canaan is proud to bring this nutritious Palestinian delicacy to the world and continuing the wholesome tradition of bringing all the flavors out from the season.