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Nov 17, 2012 01:43 PM

Farro: perlato (polished) and decorticato (spelt)

I have a couple of Italian soup recipes, each of which calls for a different type of farro. How easy it is to find polished farro and spelt? I would imagine the latter is pretty common, but if a place sells faro is it then always the "polished" variety? Would Fairway or TJ's (less likely, I assume) stock both of these grains? I know, I can call Fairway but I'm not sure if they'll be able to tell if the farro is polished.


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  1. Hello,

    Usually it is written on the packet, if it s perlato. Anyway, here is where you can find it or sure ('cause i have bought it): Eataly and Bella Italia (chelsea market) - but also any Italian specialty store (Todaro's, Agata and Valentina, etc.).

    PS Soups can be done with the normal / whole farro - but will take lonher to cook (soo you should cook it first in a pressure cooker) and will be richer. For "farrotto" - risotto made with farro (YUM!) you'd better use the perlato one.


    1 Reply
    1. Cayuga Pure Organics - from upstate NY- used to sell Faro and Spelt at many of the NYC greenmarkets ( and many other grains and flours). They no longer have stands at any of the greenmarkets, but are now selling their products at Whole Foods. All of their stuff is extremely high quality. I've been buying their faro for some time- it's the best I've ever had. Their polenta is also terrific.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Ann900

        Thanks, Ann. So if I buy faro from Whole Foods, will that be the polished variety? And can I assume that the spelt they sell will be labeled as such?

        1. re: uwsgrazer

          I'm guessing that it's not polished because it's a rich, brown color, which suggests the hull is still on.Cayuga also has a website you can order from. The farro ( also called emmer) is $5.99 lb. BTW- I've never found that it takes very long to cook- 20 minutes or so.I sauté it first with garlic and than add broth, red wine and simmer - One of my favorite ways to make it is to mix the cooked farro with a little olive oil,, sliced braised asparagus,, sliced black olives and some shaved parmesan.

          1. re: Ann900

            If it takes 20 minutes to cook, it is polished (or precooked)

            1. re: paulj

              The Cayuga farro is absolutely NOT pre-cooked. None of their products are. take a look at their website or read the article about them a few years ago in the NYTimes food section (where I first learned about them.)

              1. re: Ann900


                "Farro (emmer) is a small grain with a nice firm and chewy texture, it has a sweet taste like honey-roasted nuts. The word “Farro” is now used to describe several different grains in different parts of the world, but Cayuga Pure Organics’ farro is true emmer wheat. Emmer is an ancient wheat strain that grows wild and was first farmed in the Fertile Crescent in the Near East. It cooks best with a 1½:1, water to grain ratio, in 45-60 minutes. I like to make farrotto, basically risotto using farro instead of Arborio rice. To produce a risotto-like texture, crack the grain gently in a coffee grinder just before soaking to help release the starches from the farro and encourage a creamy risotto-like consistency. This same technique can also be used with any of the other grains to produce risotto style dishes. "
                "Grain should be soaked for at least an hour. Soaking softens the grain, decreases cooking time and also helps break down the phytic acid which is present in most grains. "

          2. re: uwsgrazer

            I've bought a lot of farro here in NYC,and in Italy. I've never seen that I can recall, the non-pearled variety in NYC stores. I have seen a product called "semi-pearled." Both the pearled and the semi-pearled have that rich, brown, speckled hue.

            There is a stand at the USGreenmarket that sells spelt. I saw them this week and thought it was Cayuga Organics.

        2. My impression is that Italian farro is most likely pearled, while USA organic (e.g. from small farms in Washington) probably isn't.

          Middle Eastern shops also carry pearled (peeled) wheat.