Spelt berries, spelt ‘b.e.r.r.i.e.s.’

There are different levels to keeping a ‘climate aware seasonal kitchen’. The more zealous will aim for 100% Irish produce – and that’s more than admirable. Some will strike a balance -buying local where possible but, when it’s not, buying what’s available. Then, there is a third group. These are the creative kitchen experimenters who will reinvent recipes from Crete – and the other Mediterranian countries – but using Irish ingredients. One case in point are spelt berries.

Dunany Flour is an organic family-run flour producer in Dunany, County Louth. They are a producer of spelt berries and spelt flour. Organic growing is a painstaking undertaking, but the results are well worth the effort in terms of both taste, quality and environmental responsibility. Consumers have to play their part too, and be prepared to pay that bit extra for a product that takes additional effort to make.

Rice has become a staple in the Irish diet, with the influx of Asian and African immigrants. But it is an import, that comes with a heavy carbon footprint. There’s a solution, however, that uses Irish grown produce and that – far from detracting from a dish, can actually enhance the texture and flavour. Spelt Berries are not, in fact, berries, but are the whole kernels of the spelt grain. Spelt has become a popular alternative to the usual supermarket flours, but the kernels, too, have a useful role to play. They hold their shape well when cooked and have a slight nutty flavour.

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