Don’t confuse bulgur with cracked wheat – The Denver Post

Although we’ve been told by nutritionists to be wary of processed foods, many minimally processed foodstuffs suffer little diminution in their healthy properties.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are such; so too, low-sodium canned or jarred tomatoes. Even “raw” rolled oats are oat groats that have been de-husked, steamed, and then rolled in order to make their nutrients more accessible to us. (We share a lot in common with farmyard animals, but not eating groats.)

Bulgur is another good example of a minimally processed grain with very close the equal in nutrition to raw, unprocessed whole wheat, bulgur’s source.

Bulgur (sometimes spelled bulghur) is a form of whole wheat that has been cracked, cleaned, parboiled (or steamed), dried and then ground into various sizes. Bulgur is sold by its size. It isn’t cracked wheat, which are whole raw wheat berries that have been milled into smaller pieces. Unlike bulgur, cracked wheat has not been precooked and, hence, can’t be substituted in recipes that call for bulgur.

Bulgur may be a strange grocery item to most of us, but chances are we’ve eaten it several times. Its most well-known rendition is as a main ingredient — along with parsley, lemon, olive oil, mint and sometimes cucumber — in the salad called tabbouleh. Ain’t no tabbouleh without bulgur.

However, in its region of origin, the Levant — that enormous western Mediterranean and eastern Asian territory that includes Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Syria and, to some, Turkey and Iraq —  bulgur is as common as rice is in Southeast Asia or as corn in the Americas.