WHAT IS SPELT?
Spelt is one of the oldest grains known to mankind. Grown as far back as 5000 BC, the spelt grain has hardly changed from that time until today. In fact, spelt was even referred to in the Bible, mentioned in both Exodus 9:32 and Ezekiel 4:9.
While still common in many parts of the world, including Europe, spelt lost popularity in America as commercial growers looked for higher yield crops to provide for mass production.
It is the integrity of modern spelt to the original grain that has rekindled interest of those looking for a more nutritious alternative to the highly processed grains currently available.
HOW SPELT COMPARES TO WHEAT
Unlike the wheat most Americans have come to know, spelt has not been changed for centuries. Wheat production in America demanded higher gluten for commercial foods and a plant that was easy to grow and harvest. With these changes much of the wheat grown lost its nutritious value and became easy targets to pests requiring pesticides and insecticides to protect it during growth.
Spelt became less popular because of its hard outer husk which made it difficult to process. However, this husk protects the spelt from pests and pollutants and helps the grain to maintain its nutrient value.
The spelt grain is high in fibre and has more protein than conventional wheat. It is full of amino acids and a good source of B vitamins. Spelt is easier to digest than regular wheat and has a subtle nutty flavor that many appreciate.
One of the most desirable qualities of this nutritious and tasty grain is that individuals with allergies to wheat may be able to tolerate spelt grains and products.
WHERE CAN YOU GET SPELT?
Spelt is sold through organic health food stores. You can buy spelt grain, whole grain and white flours. Spelt products also include pasta, hot or cold cereals, cookies, crackers, bread, muffins, cakes and pancake mixes.
ADAPTING RECIPES FOR SPELT GRAIN
When baking with spelt you will need to adapt the recipe to account for the difference between spelt and traditional wheat. Increasing the amount of flour or decreasing the amount of liquids will enable you to use spelt in most recipes asking for wheat.
Spelt needs to be soaked overnight before cooking. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Let it simmer in a covered pot for an hour.
THE CASE FOR SPELT
Spelt has many features that make it stand out as the ecologically and nutritionally superior grain available. The tough husk means it can be grown without pesticides and insecticides and helps preserve freshness when stored. Its high nutritional value can’t be compared to hybrid wheat currently produced and it appears to be easier for the body to tolerate.
Spelt is not new to the world, but if you haven’t tried it before, now is the time to introduce yourself to the oldest secret to healthy eating!