Consumers seeking the latest in ancient grains can now choose organic cracked freekeh, a form of “green” wheat offered by Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Portland, Ore., as an addition to its Grains of Discovery line.

Green wheat describes the grain fresh from the farmer’s field. Normal milling practice holds such newly harvested wheat for a short period before processing. Freekeh is a whole grain food made in an Old World way following a traditional process popular in the Middle East and northeastern Africa.

“Since we introduced Grains of Discovery last summer, the response has been tremendous, and customers have been clamoring for more,” said Bob Moore, founder, president and chief executive officer of Bob’s Red Mill. He described freekeh as “something totally unique and virtually unknown in the West.”

According to legend, freekeh was created when a farmer’s crop of young, green wheat was set on fire by a rival. Instead of letting the burned wheat go to waste, the farmer’s family harvested the roasted wheat and removed the chaff. To their surprise, it had a pleasantly nutty, lightly roasted flavor.

Bob’s Red Mill prepares its freekeh by lightly roasting whole wheat kernels, then cracking them to create a whole grain food with a texture similar to bulgur and possessing a mild nutty flavor.