|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Farina is a cereal food, frequently described as mild-tasting, usually served warm, made from cereal grains (usually semolina). In contemporary American English use, it is usually referred to as Cream of Wheat or Malt-O-Meal, which are brands of farina as stated on their packaging. Wheat farina is a carbohydrate-rich food, often cooked in boiling water and served warm for breakfast, or cooked with milk and made into semolina pudding. It is used as an ingredient in many dishes and in processed foods such as breakfast cereals and pasta.
The word farina comes from the Latin farina, meaning meal or flour.
Farina is made from the germ and endosperm of the grain, which is milled to a fine granular consistency and then sifted. Because the bran and most of the germ are removed, this cereal is sometimes enriched with Vitamin B and iron. Farina, by itself, is most often served as a breakfast cereal, but can also be cooked like polenta. Farina can also be used to make farofa. Cream of Wheat, Malt-O-Meal, and Farina are brand names of a type of wheat farina used for breakfast cereal. Farina Mills and Farina Creamy Hot Wheat Cereal are trademarks of the Malt-O-Meal Company.
Farina can also be found on the bottom of some English muffins as it is used to prevent them from sticking to the baking surfaces during the baking process.
When enriched, it is one of the single best sources of dietary iron available, especially for vegetarian diets, with most brands offering as much as 50% of the recommended daily value in a single 120-calorie serving.
Common additives to it for cereal include cinnamon, butter, sugar or brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, grated chocolate, jelly/jam/preserves, dried or fresh fruit and salt. These can help add to an otherwise bland taste.