Spelt (Triticum spelta) is an ancient hulled wheat (aka a ‘glume wheat’) that has been cultivated since 5000BCE.
It has a more nutty flavour than standard flour.
Due to the hull protecting it, the grain is resistant to environmental and ecological damage during its entire growth phase. Although a relative of common wheat it has undergone little change via breeding processes over the millennia.
Common wheat is unhulled and thus easier to thresh and mill, which is probably why it has become more popular. An unhulled wheat also lends itself more easily to breeding for characteristics such as yield.
Spelt is more expensive than modern wheats because it requires the extra stage of husk removal before milling.
Genetic evidence suggests it is a naturally occurring hybrid of emmer and wild goat-grass, a hybridisation that took place around Anatolia some 7000 years ago. It likely predated common bread wheat by a few thousand years. Spelt was a staple grain in Europe from the Bronze age to the Middle Ages. However by the 20th century it had been replaced by the easier-to-mill bread wheat in most areas and became a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain before it’s revitalisation as a healthy ancient grain in the late 20th century.
Spelt-wheat is high in high-quality protein, very rich in vitamins A and E as well as B group vitamins and contains many minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and especially iron.
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