ANCIENT GRAINS WORDS AND PHOTOS BY HELENA MCMURDO
As opposed to modern wheat and corn, which have been bred and modified over the years, ancient grains have remained largely unchanged over their history. Compared to modern wheat, they tend to have higher nutritional value, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. We also tend to use them as whole grains and some have reported that they are easier to digest than modern wheats. Here are some you may or may not have heard of and how to use them.
Khorasan wheat Frequently seen on store shelves marketed as Kamut™, this hearty, chewy ancient grain is a star in salads. It requires a good soak overnight and a long cooking time. Many people find the gluten in Khorasan wheat easier to digest. Barley In terms of global production, barley ranks number four, after wheat, rice and corn. Pot barley has the most nutrition. It has had its inedible husk removed, but is less refined than pearl barley, which has been polished. Barley is a hero because it gives us beer, beef barley soup and even a mushroom “barlotto.” Einkorn The name comes from German and means “first wheat.” It is considered the most ancient of all wheats. It has a soft texture and can be used as a flour in baked goods, or cooked like emmer in salads and soups. Spelt Typically used in baked goods and cereals, spelt is an ancient cousin of wheat that is often grown organically. It has a high protein content and there is evidence of
it being grown in Germany since 500 AD. We know it from its use in artisan breads, but spelt berries can also be used in salads. Dinkelbrot is a rich hearty German bread made from a mixture of spelt and rye flours and studded with whole spelt berries.
Emmer wheat If you’ve never heard of emmer,
you may know farro, a delicious nutty grain used in salads and soups. In Canada, most farro is emmer wheat, although the term farro can also refer to spelt and einkorn.
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