Sunday, September 9, 2012

Spelt Berries and Cucumbers with Garden Update

All images © Valery Rizzo

As you know I have been having lots of fun with my garden this year. I did much better than last year, I may even try composting next year. I also learned that as long as I kept the birds and squirrels fed they would leave my vegetables for alone. I made all kinds of light and healthy dishes all summer long with tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans, eggplants, basil, spearmint and other herbs from the garden. I presently have several red bell peppers I am anxiously waiting to harvest and bunches of strawberries if I get to them before the birds do.

The spelt berry and cucumber recipe was adapted slightly from Mario Batali's book Molto Gusto. I used spelt berries instead of farro which I found at the Park Slope Food Coop and the cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and basil were from my garden.

Spelt and Cucumbers with Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion and Basil

1 1/2 cups spelt berries

2 or 3 medium cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch triangles (I used Diva cukes but Kirbies would also work nicely)

1/2 of a red onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice

1 large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 handful fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade) I throw in the tiniest leaves, whole

1/4 cup Lambrusco vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Fresh ground black pepper

Sea salt

Combine spelt berries and water to cover by 2 inches in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer, skimming off the foam. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook until berries are just tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Drain spelt berries and transfer to a large bowl. Add cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and basil, mixing well. Add vinegar, olive oil, salt and fresh pepper, mix well and serve, or let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to bring out the flavors. This can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 3 days. 

Serves 4 to 6 people.


  1. Congratulations! Everything seems delicious.

    I've also a garden but very small. Anyway I've eaten some spinach, onions and tomatoes but guess what...the tomatoes started to ripen only few weeks ago and now it's getting cold here in Cambridge. However I won't give up.

  2. You should never give up because each year you learn something which makes the next year better. My tomatoes did that last year and what did I do differently this year...I pinched and removed the suckers that grow in between leaves which take the energy away from the plant growing fruit. So pruning early and throughout will yield you fruit sooner.
    Good luck and look forward to next year.

  3. Spelt and Cucumbers with Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion and Basil Looks healthy recipe.
    Thanks for sharing.
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