A Moment of Science

Spelt

Have you ever come across spelt in the grocery store?

It’s one of the oldest cultivated grains around, a relative of modern day wheat. It’s believed to have first been cultivated around 5000 BC.

Modern wheat has been bred to make it easy to grow and harvest, whereas spelt retains many of its original qualities. The outer husk that encases the seeds of spelt remains attached at harvesting, rather than separating easily as it does in modern wheat. This bulkiness makes spelt more difficult to process.

The tough encasing that has long been considered a nuisance is also the reason for renewed interest in spelt. It protects the kernel from pollutants and insects. Also, it locks in nutrients and maintains freshness. Spelt is high in fiber, and it’s higher in protein and B complex vitamins than wheat.

Spelt has a nutty flavor that has made it popular in Europe for the last several hundred years. In fact, it may have been in your grocery store all along, but under other names. For instance, the Italians call it “Farro.”

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