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An old friend referred to Koliva as “Greek Death Granola”. Well…she really wasn’t that far off.  Koliva is made for Greek Orthodox memorial services.  It symbolizes “food for the soul”, as my mom would say.  The wheat, known as koliva, is a symbol of the Resurrection. When speaking of the Resurrection, our Lord said: “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

Growing up, my father and I would joke about joining the church bulletin to stay on top of the memorial schedules in order to go and get koliva.  We loved critiquing the various recipes and techniques used and compared everyone’s to the one made by my mom.  The first time I made it was for him along with my Mom and Aunt, who traveled from Greece for his funeral.  This new and improved recipe would have made him proud.


2 cups / 1# Wheat
Boil for 1 Hour – No Salt
Skim Top / Foam
Strain & Rinse
Layer single layer on clean lint free cloth & cover with another cloth (we use table cloths) and let rest over night. **Purpose – to remove excess liquid.

– put dried out boiled wheat into bowl and mix with:
– 1 c walnuts / Course ground
– 1 c Sliced Almonds – Toasted
– 1/2 c toasted sesame seeds
– 2 tbl fresh Italian parsley – finely chopped
– 1/2 c toasted chickpea powder
– 1 pack biscuits cookies / finely ground
– 1/2 tsp anise seed
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 cup white raisins
– pomegranate seeds

Once mixed, place in decorative bowl or platter and top with sifted powdered sugar. Put a thick layer and using plastic wrap, press to smooth over sitari. Decorate with Jordan almonds and edible silver candy.

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