Recipe Sifter

  • Start Here
    • Course
    • Main Ingredient
    • Cuisine
    • Preparation
    • Occasion
    • Diet
    • Nutrition

Select () or exclude () categories to narrow your recipe search.


As you select categories, the number of matching recipes will update.

Make some selections to begin narrowing your results.
  • Calories
  • Amount per serving
    1. Total Fat
    2. Saturated Fat
    3. Polyunsat. Fat
    4. Monounsat. Fat
    5. Trans Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Total Carbohydrates
    1. Dietary Fiber
    2. Sugars
  • Protein
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Find exactly what you're looking for with the web's most powerful recipe filtering tool.

    You are in: Home / Greek / Greek Kolyva (Koliva) (Wheat Berry Memorial Food) Recipe
    Lost? Site Map

    Greek Kolyva (Koliva) (Wheat Berry Memorial Food)

    Total Time:

    Prep Time:

    Cook Time:

    2 hrs 25 mins

    25 mins

    2 hrs

    Olha's Note:

    While this is a mournful memorial food, it is also a much loved treat, patted down in pie tins, blanketed with a thick layer of sugar, and elaborately festooned with silver dragee candies, seeds, and almonds. It is brought to the church for blessing on the third and ninth day of a beloved’s passing, again at forty days, a year, and three years, and also on “Soul Saturday” twice a year. After church the kolyva is poured into a sack or a large bowl, mixing the sugar, decoration, and grain together, and offered around. Children wait for it, paper bags at the ready. Adults, unable to forgo the comfort and memory of it, take handfuls. It is a fine way to honor the deceased with the food of life.

    • Save to Recipe Box

    • Add to Grocery List

    • Print

    • Email

    My Private Note



    Units: US | Metric


    1. 1
      Rinse the wheat berries and place them in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches, along with a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the berries are tender and beginning to split but not mushy, about 1 3/4 hours. (Add more water to the pot when the liquid reduces to the level that the wheat no longer floats, and stir from time to time so the berries don’t stick to the bottom.) Drain and set aside in the strainer to cool and dry for at least 1 hour or up to several hours.
    2. 2
      Place the cooled wheat berries in a large mixing bowl. Add the sesame and anise seeds, walnuts, slivered almonds, raisins, cinnamon, and the pomegranate seeds. Sift in 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and toss it all together.
    3. 3
      Transfer the mixture to a large platter or tray. Sift the remaining confectioners’ sugar over the top to coat it thickly, almost like a frosting. Decorate the top with the whole almonds and the dragees.
    4. 4
      To serve, present the platter of decorated kolyva. Then, just before eating, mix it all together. Serves 40.
    5. 5
      NOTES: Pomegranate is not always in season, but there really is no substitute for the seed in taste, texture, or symbolism. If it is not available, simply omit it.
    6. 6
      Dragees are available in any well stocked large supermarket, usually in the baking aisle.
    7. 7
      Kolyva is traditionally prepared the day before the memorial serve, but the wheat berries can ferment if left at room temperature overnight and the sugar can crystallize in a refrigerator’s moist environment. The best pre-preparation method is to boil and refrigerate the wheat berries ahead of time, then add the other ingredients and decorate the kolyva just before it’s needed.
    8. 8
      Adventures In Greek Cooking : The Caper and The Olive by Susanna Hoffman.

    Ratings & Reviews:

    • on February 24, 2012


      This recipe got the ingredients right, but one MAJOR step is missing. If you follow this recipe exactly, you will have a bowl of mush. What makes kolyva so good is that the wheat berries are dry and have a little bit of a crunch to them. They are cooked, but not mushy. The step that is missing is that after you cook and drain the wheat berries, you need to spread them out either on lint-free cloths (the traditional way) to dry over night, or you need to put them on parchment on jelly-roll pans. I prefer the latter because the wheat berries don't stick, but either way works. The bottom line is that you need to dry out the wheat berries so that they aren't tacky at all. THEN you mix them up with all the other yummy stuff.

      person found this review Helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes | No


    Nutritional Facts for Greek Kolyva (Koliva) (Wheat Berry Memorial Food)

    Serving Size: 1 (40 g)

    Servings Per Recipe: 40

    Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
    Calories 165.6
    Calories from Fat 94
    Total Fat 10.4 g
    Saturated Fat 0.9 g
    Cholesterol 0.0 mg
    Sodium 3.5 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 16.7 g
    Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
    Sugars 12.7 g
    Protein 3.9 g

    The following items or measurements are not included:

    wheat berries

    Ideas from

    Advertisement Network of Sites

    • Mexican Recipes
    • Chinese Recipes
    • Australian Recipes
    • Breakfast Recipes
    • Greek Recipes
    • Restaurant Recipes
    • Italian Recipes
    • Christmas Recipes
    • Thanksgiving Recipes
    • Southern Recipes
    • Dessert Recipes
    • Deep Fried Recipes
    • Thai Recipes
    • Low Cholesterol Recipes
    • Indian Recipes
    • Healthy Recipes
    • Meatloaf Recipes