CORDIS - EU research results

The aroma/flavor profiles of Freekeh, a Mediterranean green durum wheat product, its market acceptability and utilization of its production methods for other Nordic-based cereals

Project description

Investigating the aroma and flavour of Freekeh

Worldwide production of freekeh – sometimes spelt frikeh or farik (meaning rubbed in Arabic) – is on the rise. While this ancient wheat product, which boasts a unique preparation method and flavour, is growing in popularity, little is known about its aroma and flavour profiles. The EU-funded AnaFree project will research both these profiles for freekeh, particularly the compounds imparting its smoky attributes and their precursors. The project will also explore the sensory perception of consuming freekeh dishes and evaluate its consumer acceptability. AnaFree will study the use of this ancient wheat in modern cuisine. Additionally, it will delve into production methods using common cereals like rye and barley or by adding different smoke sources.


Analysis of Freekeh Aroma, Sensory-perception and Preparation Methods
Freekeh (Arabic, ‘rubbed’) is an ancient wheat product with a unique preparation method and flavor profile. It is essentially immature durum wheat (Triticum turgidum) grains, harvested while plants are green and the seeds are soft. The plants are stacked and then set on fire (usually in situ) to rid of stalks, awns and leaves. Bushels are then threshed, grains separated from the chaff, dried and cracked. The production process lends a smoky, complex aroma to the finished product, described as nutty, earthy and smoky. Compared to dried mature Durum Freekeh is richer in fiber, protein, sugars and Mn and has a low glycemic index. Timing of harvest determines much of the quality, since protein, fiber and antioxidants decrease while phytate levels increase in parallel to seed maturation. Additionally, sugars are converted into starch as the grains fill, making seeds that are in the milk-ripe to mid-dough-ripe stages optimal. Worldwide production is rising (>300K ton/yr), demand in western country increases and it is also used in Haute Cuisine. Although its popularity, Freekeh has not been studied for its aroma/flavor profiles. I believe this product could serve as an interesting model for both basic and applicable research that has been, to date, underrepresented in food science. I propose to:
a. Investigate the aroma/flavor profiles of Freekeh (e.g. volatile compounds, sugars and organic acids). Special focus will be given to compounds imparting its smoky attributes and their precursors.
b. Analyze the sensory perception of consuming Freekeh dishes and to evaluate its consumer acceptability.
c. Test the production method of Freekeh by utilizing common cereals (Rye, Barley, Spelt) or by adding different smoke sources.
d. Evaluating the use of Freekeh in modern cuisine.


Net EU contribution
€ 219 312,00
1165 Kobenhavn

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Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 219 312,00