Spelt is an ancient grain classified in the wheat family. Spelt (Triticum spelta – its scientific name) has primitive characteristics different than the common modern wheat (Triticum aestivum).
Tight husk on the kernel which stays on during harvesting
Head of grain is much longer
Kernels are not clustered tightly on the head, but rather in separate segments
Kernels are slender and longer – accounting for higher fiber
Tall – long stalk, 2 to 3 times taller
Free threshing – husk comes off during harvesting
Kernels are tightly clustered
Wheat kernels are plump (shorter and thicker)
Dwarfed – to support heavier, higher yielding heads – less straw for farmers to deal with
High yield due to breeding
Spelt fell into disfavor during the Industrial Revolution. Wheat could be taken directly from the harvesters to the mills. Spelt, however, is tightly shrouded with a protective hull that must be removed mechanically. It also has a lower yield. These two factors led to its disuse and today is seen in its higher cost.
Spelt is among the original, natural grains known to man. Check the old writings – Exodus 9:31,32; Isaiah 28:25; and Ezekiel 4:9 in the Bible.
Here are some intriguing findings about spelt. This ancient grain contains more protein, fats, and crude fiber than common wheat. The biological value of this balanced protein so exceeds that of wheat protein that its excess essential amino acids constitute a protein source for human plasma. Compared to wheat – 4 times more fiber, more protein, higher in most of the minerals, and it contains up to 65% more amino acids. Its superior nutrition makes spelt an ideal training and endurance food. The high fiber makes it an excellent choice for diabetics.
Quote by St. Hildegard von Bingen: »Spelt is the best grain, warming, lubricating and of high nutritional value. It is better tolerated by the body than any other grain. Spelt provides the consumer with good flesh and good blood and confers a cheerful disposition. It provides a happy mind and a joyful spirit. No matter how you eat spelt, either as bread or other foods, it is good and easy to digest.« – from The Wonder Food Spelt by Dr. Wighard Strehlow
Excellent source of manganese
Highly water soluble
Easy to digest
Great taste – nutty (according to some taste buds), mild
It is good for all uses – bread baking, pastries, pasta, cereal, sprouted or cooked for salads
Many people find relief from various health conditions when they switch to spelt. The conditions we hear about frequently are bloating, digestive issues, rash and eczema, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain. We would love to hear from you! How has spelt changed your life?
Check The World's Healthiest Foods for the healthiness of spelt.
Sensitivity or intolerance to wheat is increasing. Some explanation for this is:
1. chemical applications to the soil and plants
2. over-exposure to refined wheat
3. preservatives and additives in flour and baked goods (up to 28% in a recent study)
4. hybridizing of wheat, particularly since 1950
Read more about this in Dr. William Davis' book titled »Wheat Belly«.
Health Canada's Enhanced Allergen Regulations that came into force on August 4, 2012 state that all sources of gluten must be declared for the protection of the 1% of Canadians who have celiac disease. Since spelt is classified in the wheat family (identified by Triticum in its scientific name) it has gluten, and must therefore, be declared as such on labelling. Any of our products that contain spelt, have spelt indicated in this way – »whole grain spelt flour (wheat)«.
Check www.natureslegacyforlife.com for more information on spelt.
KAMUT® wheat is another ancient grain with a fascinating history. The unique physical characteristics of this grain kernel are: its large size, humped back, hard kernel, and yellow color. The hardness of the kernel requires that we first crack it with our mill and then grind it fine. The flour has a sandy feel, rather that powdery. The yellow color of the flour makes for a golden colored bread. The gluten structure of KAMUT® wheat is noticeably different than spelt. The bread melts in your mouth!
Learn about the history and benefits of KAMUT® wheat at www.kamut.com