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Einkorn Wheat

Einkorn Wheat
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Einkorn wheat can refer either to the wild species of wheat, Triticum boeoticum, or to the domesticated form, Triticum monococcum. The wild and domesticated forms are either considered separate species, as here, or as subspecies of T. monococcum. Einkorn is a diploid species of hulled wheat, with tough glumes that tightly enclose the grains. The cultivated form is similar to the wild, except that the ear stays intact when ripe and the seeds are larger. Einkorn wheat is one of the earliest cultivated forms of wheat, alongside emmer wheat.

People were cultivating einkorn wheat, Triticum monococcum, at least as far back as the early Bronze Age. Einkorn and other ancient wheats faded into the background in favor of modern hybrid wheats. Today, einkorn is grown mostly in Europe.

Einkorn differs quite a bit from modern wheat varieties. Like two other ancient wheats, emmer and spelt, einkorn is a covered wheat. When most modern wheat is harvested, threshing separates the wheat (kernels) from the chaff (the outer coverings). Einkorn kernels remain within their coverings, so the wheat must be hulled after harvesting.

Einkorn wheat contains more protein than modern hard red wheat and has more phosphorus, potassium and vitamin B6, according to Purdue University's Center for New Crops and Plant Products. It is rich in carotenoids, the naturally occurring red, orange and yellow pigments in many fruits and vegetables and some grains. The body can turn some carotenoids, especially beta-carotene, into vitamin A. Carotenoids may also help to prevent cancer and other diseases, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.

Einkorn wheat berries, einkorn pasta, einkorn flour, and pancake and waffle mixes are sold online and in some natural foods stores.

A study in Cereal Chemistry reported that some, but not most, varieties of Einkorn were suitable for baking bread, and that einkorn tends to make a sticky dough. When baking, it's best to use einkorn flour in recipes specifically formulated for it. It can be easily substituted for regular wheat or wheat flour in wheat berry pilafs and salads, gravies and similar recipes. Einkorn pasta can be substituted for wheat noodles in most pasta dishes.

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