I’ve always been fascinated with new ingredients, especially in finding new ways to use them. Meeting an unfamiliar food and then figuring out how to use it in a way that best honors its origins feels like leveling up in a video game. In this case, the video game is my career as a chef.
I think that’s what drove me to explore freekeh. As far as ancient grains go, freekeh is the secret weapon no one’s ever heard of. It’s nutty and smoky, with a fascinating chewy texture that adds to the experience. It pairs beautifully with citrus, fruit, and fresh fish and can be dressed up or down depending on the moment and mood. Plus, it’s incredibly nutrient-dense and higher in protein and fiber than brown rice or quinoa. The only problem? Outside of the Middle East and Northern Africa, it’s virtually unknown and hard to find.
Like many of the best foods (Ice cream cones! Potato chips!), freekeh was discovered accidentally. As the story goes, in 2300 BC, the Eastern Mediterranean was embroiled in a civil war. Rather than lose their whole grain harvest, farmers harvested their crops while still green and hid them in storage barns. The barns burned, but the grain didn’t. When the farmers rubbed the burnt grain chaff, the seed emerged-smoked but not burned. I’m of the opinion that if those farmers had known what they were going to get, they would have toasted their wheat a lot sooner!
The journey of getting this great grain into a pita chip was a master class in patience and creative thinking. We knew freekeh was unique, but we also knew that the American market didn’t need another health food fad. The insatiable American demand for snack foods was the key to cracking this nut (or grain, if you will). Our goal with Freekeh Harvest was to create a snack chip that was delicious as well as filling and packed with nutrition. The nutty and smoky flavor of freekeh was a natural focal point, and the goal was always to build the chip around the grain. After months of testing, tasting, and retesting, we perfected a chip packed with flavor and the perfect snap of texture.
Freekeh Harvest® Baked Pita Chips are versatile by design. Pair them with cheese and charcuterie, plunge them into the dip at your next party (I recommend a fresh hummus or a creamy spinach artichoke), or just grab a handful to munch on to curb your appetite before your next meal. These chips were designed to fit into your world, and I cannot wait to see what the world does with this new option. Bon Appetit!