Wheat is one of the top 3 most cultivated grains in the world (the others are maize and rice) and it is grown on more hectares and is traded in greater volumes than all other crops. There are several species of wheat – including durum, spelt and khorasan – with the most well known being ‘common’ or ‘bread’ wheat (Triticum aestivum), and the vast majority of wheat products are made from this.
Early varieties of wild wheat grasses (Einkorn) were harvested around the Tigris & Euphrates river from the late paleolithic about 16,000 BCE. Thought to have originated in southeastern Turkey, wheat has been consumed as a food for more than 12,000 years. It’s likely that prehistoric humans consumed their grains in porridges before flour, bread and soup appeared in the human diet around 10,000 BCE.
The earliest domesticated wheats, einkorn and emmer, appear in the Middle East around 8800 BCE. From here it travelled to Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and India. Then into Spain and Germany. It’s thought to have reached England and Scandinavia by about 3000 BCE and China by around 2000 BCE.
The earliest wheats such as Emmer, Einkorn and Spelt are ‘hulled’
Our modern wheat has descended, via selective breeding, from ancient wheats such as emmer.
Whole wheat is a very good source of manganese and dietary fiber. It is also a good source of copper, magnesium, and pantothenic acid. a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese, and as a good source of magnesium.
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