Let’s Cook With Spelt

Spelt (Triticum aestivum var. spelta) is a type of grain that contains more nutrients than regular wheat. Although it does contain gluten, it seems to cause less sensitivities in some people who are intolerant of wheat. It can be sprouted or ground and made into flour. Spelt has been recommended by doctors as an alternative to conventional wheat.

In French, spelt is called l’epeautre, in Italian, farro, and in German, dinkel. Spelt may not be familiar with many North Americans. However, spelt has been around since the Bronze and Iron Ages, that is about 4,000 years. However, it was not introduced into the United States until the 1890’s. Most of the spelt in grown in the state of Ohio. Between 100,000 and 200,000 acres of spelt are produced annually. Since spelt can grow on poorly-drained, low-fertility soils, it grows well on the sandy soils found in the Midwest.

In the United States spelt is slowly gaining popularity. As foodies demand high fiber cereals and pasta, spelt can be ground into a flour and used in baked goods. It is much more popular in Europe, especially in Germany. Spelt will become a grain of the future as the demand for pasta increases.

Currently, it is mostly an unknown grain by most cooks. Even though it is a hybrid of emmer wheat and goat grass, with a distinctive nutty flavour, it may be slow to gaining popularity as barley, oats, rye, or wheat.

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