Wheat and Spelt

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Wheat and Spelt

Wheat field under clear sky

Organic, raw unprocessed cereal (grass) seeds. Easily sprouted to get vitamins and minerals into a form usable by wheat-allergic persons. Wheat in America is a modified form of spelt adapted for higher carbohydrate to protein levels. Wheat is a common allergent. The culprit is wheat's gluten— the grey protein that expands to bake a porous, high rising loaf.

If you enjoy eating bread, but have never tasted bread made from the whole spelt seed, then you have never tasted real bread. During all of 1999-2000, I hand-ground a ten ounce tub of whole spelt that my wife then transformed into an unbelievably tasty bread/cake in a pyrex glass loaf-bowl. The finished loaf weighed 32 ounces. She uses Rumford non-aluminum baking powder instead of yeast, organic butter, distilled water, sea salt, and organic cane sugar crystals . Sometimes she drops in minced onion, minced olives, organic raisins, or chopped organic garlic. I plastic-bag a one inch thick slice and add an organic apple for a complete lunch. Burton Linne

By J.T. Hoagland of Purity Foods

Sometimes the original ideas are still the best. The wheel hasn't changed much in thousands of years, and tasty and nutritious spelt, one of the first grains to be grown by early farmers as long ago as 5,000 BC., is finding renewed popularity with American consumers.

Spelt's "nutty" flavor has long been popular in Europe, where it is also known as "Farro" (Italy) and "Dinkle" (Germany). In Roman times it was "Farrum", and origins can be traced back early Mesopotamia. Spelt (Triticum spelta) is an ancient distant cousin to modern wheat (Triticum aestivum). Spelt is one of the oldest of cultivated grains, preceded only by Emmer and Elkorn.

But it's not just good taste that has caught the attention of consumers on this side of the Atlantic. The grain is naturally high in fiber, and contains significantly more protein than wheat. Spelt is also higher in B complex vitamins, and both simple and complex carbohydrates. Another important benefit is that some gluten-sensitive people have been able to include spelt-based foods in their diets.

Some 800 years ago Hildegard von Bingen, (St.Hildegard) wrote about spelt: “The spelt is the best of grains. It is rich and nourishing and milder than other grain. It produces a strong body and healthy blood to those who eat it and it makes the spirit of man light and cheerful. If someone is ill boil some spelt, mix it with egg and this will heal him like a fine ointment.”

What brought the decline in production of spelt in North America is now thought of as a benefit. Spelt has a tough hull, or husk, that makes it more difficult to process than modern wheat varieties. However, the husk, separated just before milling, not only protects the kernel, but helps retain nutrients and maintain freshness.

Modern wheat has changed dramatically over the decades as it has been bred to be easier to grow and harvest, to increase yield, and to have a high gluten content for the production of high-volume commercial baked goods. Unlike wheat, spelt has retained many of its original traits and remains highly nutritious and full of flavor.

Also, unlike other grains, spelt's husk protects it from pollutants and insects and usually allows growers to avoid using pesticides.

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