I have a tasty Bible lesson for you this Sunday evening. Last week I received an email from my pastor, Laura Guy, asking if I had come across anything interesting about manna. She knows that I enjoy reading books about nutrition in the Bible. “And”, she said, “if I wanted to bring something to church on Sunday for people to sample, she would be okay with that ; )”. Hehe. It made me laugh. Some of my books do, in fact, talk about manna so I decided to take the challenge.
I have to confess that I had no idea how many manna theories actually exist. And so many have compelling arguments to go along with them, too. No recipes, though. Hmmm…very odd. I thought I would Google “how to make manna” and the search results would overwhelm me with replications of the heavenly substance. Not the case. I guess it’s not something that is on everyone’s To Do list on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. So, I needed to come up with something myself that was non-Extraterrestrial, edible, and (preferably) legal. I think I succeeded. As long as success isn’t measured by being correct, of course. No one can say for sure what manna really was, so I guess I’ll never know on this Earth if I am right or not. Neither will all of the other “science” people who go to great lengths to prove out their theories with “archeological facts”. No, I’m shamelessly measuring my success simply on how well it fits the description given in the Bible, the nutritional value, and the palatability. It has to taste good.
For those of you who are not familiar with manna as it’s described in the Old Testament, I shall briefly summarize to get you up to speed. Manna is what the Isrealites called the food that God provided them as they traveled through the desert with Moses, escaping bondage in Egypt and headed for the Promised Land. In Exodus 16, it is said the travelers complained about being hungry after six weeks in the desert. God responded to these complaints not only with food, but also with very detailed instructions to go along with the food that they would be eating for the next forty years. Yes, f-o-r-t-y years. Here are a few facts about manna pulled from the Book of Exodus and the Book of Numbers:
- Manna was white in color and the size of coriander seed
- It would be collected in the morning as the dew evaporated, six days a weeks and only six days a week. On the sixth day, they would collect two days worth to have a portion for the seventh day, the Sabbath. Only the portion saved for the seventh day would keep overnight. Otherwise, it would rot if it was kept for the following day. It had to be collected fresh each day.
- Manna tasted sweet like honey and could be ground or boiled and then shaped into wafer-like patties.
So, there you have it. The basics of manna. Feel free to read all of Exodus 16 to learn more.
Like I said earlier, there are many different theories on what manna actually was. In my research, I came across a comparison of manna to buckwheat. I like buckwheat. I immediately thought of the raw buckwheat cereal I make quite often and posted a recipe for last June. Here is a caption from the article I am referring to:
In the story of Moses, “manna,” a grain harvested in the morning dew under white flowers, saved Moses and his band from starvation in the wilderness. Like manna buckwheat is harvested in morning dew. Its flowers are white and its grains are often hidden under these.
It was just seven weeks after the lamb was slain during the Passover that manna was available in the story of Exodus. Buckwheat grows in poor soil, rapidly, in 6 – 8 weeks. Like manna also, buckwheat wilts in the heat, and is about the size of coriander seed. Buckwheat has a slighty sweet nutty taste: manna tasted like honey according to Exodus (16: 31) : “And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (Exodus: 16: 31.)
Read more about buckwheat at Suite101.
I think they’re on to something. I stripped the original recipe I posted down to the bare minimum and, believe it or not, it was a hit with the congregation and with Laura! I am obligated to post the recipe for all those “Googlers” out there who may be looking for the perferct manna recipe that truly fits the description and is easy on the taste buds! Even if you’re not looking to recreate the Biblical version, you should try this cereal. It’s really good with milk poured over it and it will fill you up for hours.
Note: To hear the Laura’s sermon series about Moses, or any sermon at Living Water Christian church, click here for the podcasts. I personally recommend the Fruits of the Spirit series.
You can dehydrate this if you have food dehydrator with square trays, such as an Excalibur Dehydrator. This is what I use. Otherwise, you can do this in the oven at a very low temperature. Dehydrating will retain the maximum amount of nutrients and the living enzymes. In other words, it will be raw. Using the oven will also produce a crispy and healthy cereal.
2 cups buckwheat groats, soaked in water for 4 hours
3/4 cup honey (or more, if desired)
2 teaspoons sea salt
Drain and rinse the soaked buckwheat groats well. Add all three ingredients to a food processor and process for about 10 seconds. You do not want a paste, but it should be well combined and soupy in texture. If you do not have a food processor you can pulse this in a blender or just skip this step and your manna will be a littler chunkier.
Spread mixture onto two Teflex-lined dehyrator sheets (I use parchment paper). Dehydrate overnight at 110 degrees. Flip and continue dehydrating for a few more hours.
Line a 12×18 baking sheet with parchment paper leaving a couple inches hanging over on the short sides (this will give you something to pull on to get your dried manna out in one sheet). Pour the mixture onto the pan and spread it out, covering the entire pan. Bake at the lowest temperature setting your oven will go (mine is 170) for 2-3 hours. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. You want it to be completely dry like granola.
When the mixture is dry and crunchy, break it up into smaller pieces and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Eat as a snack by itself or pour milk over it for a healthy bowl of cereal.