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Picture of an ear of rye. It looks like  grass seed, which is what it is. Secale cereale, cereal grass and its edible grain that is used to make rye bread and rye whiskey. Rye cultivation probably originated in southwestern Asia about 6500 BC, migrating westward across the Balkan Peninsula and over Europe. Today rye is grown extensively in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Rye is used chiefly as flour for bread, as livestock feed, and as a pasture plant. It is high in carbohydrates and provides small quantities of protein, potassium, and B vitamins. It is the only cereal other than wheat having the necessary qualities to make a loaf of bread, but it is inferior to wheat for the purpose, lacking elasticity, and is frequently blended with wheat flour.

Because of its dark colour, a loaf made entirely from rye flour is called black bread. The lighter-colored rye breads popular in Europe and the United States contain admixtures of wheat or other flours in addition to rye. Pumpernickel, a dark brown bread made wholly from unsifted rye flour, was a staple food in central and eastern Europe for centuries.

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