Scientific Name: Triticum spelta
Other Names: Dinkel, Dinkle, Farro Piccolo
Habitat: Spelt is an ancient species of wheat that is native to Europe and was widely cultivated from the Bronze Age until the 19th century.
Description: Spelt is a species of wheat with an oval-shaped kernel that is slightly larger than modern wheat grains. Unlike modern wheat, spelt has a hard outer hull that must be removed before the grain can be eaten.
Species of spelt
Spelt (Triticum spelta) is a type of grain that belongs to the wheat family. It is an ancient grain that has been cultivated for thousands of years and is still used in many parts of the world today. There are several species of spelt, but the most common ones include:
- Common spelt (Triticum aestivum spelta): This is the most widely cultivated species of spelt and is grown in many parts of the world, including Europe, North America, and Asia.
- Polish spelt (Triticum polonicum): This species of spelt is native to Poland and is also grown in other parts of Europe.
- Hungarian spelt (Triticum turgidum var. dicoccoides): This species of spelt is native to Hungary and is known for its high yield and resistance to disease.
- Emmer spelt (Triticum dicoccum spelta): This is a hybrid species of spelt that is a cross between spelt and emmer wheat. It is grown mainly in Europe.
- Indian spelt (Triticum spelta): This species of spelt is native to India and is used mainly for making chapatis and other traditional Indian foods.
Wild species of spelt
There are several wild species of wheat that are closely related to spelt, but they are not considered to be true spelt. These wild species include:
- Einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum): Einkorn is an ancient species of wheat that is believed to be one of the first crops cultivated by humans. It is a diploid species, meaning that it has two sets of chromosomes, and it is closely related to spelt.
- Emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum): Emmer is another ancient species of wheat that is closely related to spelt. It is a tetraploid species, meaning that it has four sets of chromosomes, and it was widely cultivated in the Middle East and Europe during ancient times.
- Kamut (Triticum turgidum ssp. turanicum): Kamut is a trademarked brand name for Khorasan wheat, an ancient grain that is closely related to durum wheat. It is believed to have originated in the Middle East and is now grown in North America, Europe, and Asia.
- Durum wheat (Triticum durum): Durum wheat is a domesticated species of wheat that is widely cultivated for its high gluten content, which makes it ideal for making pasta and other semolina-based products. It is closely related to spelt and has a similar genetic makeup.
- Club wheat (Triticum compactum): Club wheat is a type of bread wheat that is grown primarily in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is closely related to spelt and has a similar protein composition, but it is not considered to be a true spelt.
While these wild species are not true spelt, they are closely related and share many of the same characteristics, including a nutty flavor, and a low gluten content. They are also valued for their nutritional properties and are used in a variety of traditional and modern food products.
Is spelt a wild species?
Spelt (Triticum spelta) is not a wild species, but rather it is a domesticated grain that has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is believed to be a hybrid of emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum) and another wild grass species, and it was first domesticated in the Near East around 8,000 years ago. Over time, spelt became an important crop in many parts of Europe, where it was widely used for making bread, pasta, and other traditional foods.
While spelt is not a wild species, it is often considered to be an ancient or heritage grain, which means that it has been largely unchanged by modern breeding practices and is valued for its unique flavor, nutritional content, and adaptability to a range of growing conditions. In recent years, spelt has gained popularity as a healthier and more sustainable alternative to modern wheat varieties, and it is now grown in many parts of the world, including Europe, North America, and Asia.
Benefits of spelt
Mineral Content: Spelt has a high mineral content, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
Medicinal Value: Spelt has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. It is thought to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and digestive benefits.
Culinary Use: Spelt is a popular ingredient in many dishes, including bread, pasta, and other baked goods. It can also be used as a substitute for rice or couscous.
Studies have shown that spelt is a good source of dietary fiber and may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
• Spelt Pizza Dough – This easy-to-make pizza dough uses spelt flour for a delicious and nutritious crust.
• Spelt Porridge – This warm and creamy porridge is made with spelt flakes and topped with fresh fruit or nuts for extra flavor and texture.
• Spelt Pancakes – These fluffy pancakes are made with spelt flour and can be topped with your favorite fruits.
– Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (n.d.). Spelt. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/ag/humannutrition/nutritioneducation/nutrition-facts/cereals/spelt/en/
– Stein, J. (2017). Health Benefits of Spelt. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/health-benefits-of-spelt
– Good Housekeeping. (n.d.). 10 Recipes with Spelt. Retrieved from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/g
– Spelt: A Review of Its History, Botany, Breeding, and Uses,” published in the Journal of Food Science in 2003. This article provides a comprehensive overview of spelt, including its history, genetics, nutritional properties, and uses.
– The Potential of Spelt (Triticum spelta L.) as a Component of Sustainable Wheat Production,” published in the Sustainability journal in 2020. This article explores the potential of spelt as a more sustainable alternative to modern wheat varieties, including its agronomic characteristics, nutritional profile, and potential environmental benefits.