Monday, August 25, 2008

Making Memorial Wheat

2 cups of wheat berries (the "soft" ones cook faster; can usually find these from health food store)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. white raisins
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin

1 cup finely ground zweiback toasts (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
dragees or more nuts/ raisens for decoration

Day 1. Cover and soak berries overnight.

Day 2. Drain & rinse. Cover with water in large pot and bring to boil. REduce heat and simmer uncovered 1-3 hours, until puffy and tender (keep covered with water and stir occasionally).

Drain in a colander; rinse and drain again. Spread the wheat our on a smooth dish towel to dry overnight.

Day 3. Light a candle and pray. Mix all ingredients. Put combined mixture on a tray that has been covered with wax paper.

Heap in a mound toward center and press to make smooth.

To top it: Either just sift on 1 cup of powdered sugar, or first sprinkly with 1 cup of finely ground zweiback toast and then with sugar. (the zweiback keep the sugar from absorbing and disappearing into the wheat).

Make a cross in the center with koufeta, dragees, nuts, raisens, whatever.

May Their Memory Be Eternal!


  1. My church is currently compiling a cookbook and I note (as one of the compilers) that it includes 2 recipes for memorial wheat (koliva). The recipes are very different, I noted - but it's interesting to see what differences there are and what similarities there are.

    (I probably shouldn't laugh about this, but my YoungerSon LOVES koliva! He loves it so much that he fairly squeals with joy when we get to church and note that there is koliva present for memorial prayers).

  2. Thank you for this. I am going to use your recipe very soon, as my sister's 6-month memorial is Sept. 05.

  3. my favorite additions to koliva that are not in your recipe: pomegranate seeds (I buy the fruit in season and freeze the seeds since my grandmother's memorial is in April when you can't get them) and toasted sesame seeds. They give it a wonderful nutty flavor and smell.

  4. I like the idea of other fruits, nuts, or seeds!

    It is weird - such a delightful sweet treat for such a sad occasion. Maybe it's supposed to be delightful to remember how much you love someone?

  5. So that's what that was! My husband and I are new catechumens, and a family brought one of these on sunday, and it was set out during the memorial service given by the Priest.

    Being new to Orthodoxy, I didn't know what it was, or what it was for exactly. I meant to ask, but then I forgot.

  6. If one is Christian but not Orthodox, would it be improper or disrespectful to treat this simply as a healthy snack. My late best friend was Orthodox and he showed me the preparation for his church. I tasted the memorial wheat and it was delicious.