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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!