About Spelt[ PURCHASE INFO ]
Spelt: Spelt is a form of wheat that predates the common wheat we use today. Genetically it appears to be a cross between an emmer wheat and a wild grass. There is evidence to suggest that this hybridization of spelt may have happened twice, independently, in the Middle east and again in Europe at a later time, but this has not yet been proven conclusively. Spelt has been found in archaeoligical digs north of the Black Sea that date to the 5th millennium BC, but there is a greater abundance of spelt history in Europe from about 2500 BC onward. Spelt can also be created by hybridizing emmer and common wheat, which is what is thought to have happened in Europe. Because spelt predates common bread wheat, the European spelt is most likely a newer, separate hybrid.
Spelt has slightly better nutrition than common wheat, and it requires less fertilizer and is more resistent to pests and disease. These traits have been attributed to it's hard hull which protects it from blight and also seals in the extra protein and vitamins. At the same time this harder hull makes spelt more difficult to process and can amount to 30% of the grain by weight, so it's not as popular in the modern economics of farming. Spelt has enjoyed a recent resurgence because of it's ancient history and better nutritional value, and it's mild nutty flavor makes it an attractive alternative to common bread wheat. Spelt has similar nutritional value to oats, but it is wheat and does contain some gluten so it's not always suitable for people with wheat issues.
Spelt is popular as an organic product because it's dense hull protects it and it requires fewer pesticides. It also requires less artificial fertilization. Spelt is higher in protein, and it's protein is easier to digest, so not everyone who has trouble with wheat will have trouble with spelt. Spelt also has a higher nutrient content in general, so it needs less enrichment to meet government standards. The hard hull may be protecting the softer water soluable kernel and preserving the nutritional value of spelt. The added nutrition has created a new market for ancient spelt in the modern world.
Where to buy: Spelt