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Our guest blogger today is Heidi Gordon of Jovial Foods. Heidi shares the history and health beneﬁts of the ancient grain, einkorn. A timely article as we wrote about ancient grains in May’s Just Ask newsletter.
There seems to be a buzz in the air these days about ancient grains. Einkorn is nature’s original wheat and the only one never hybridized, and yes, it’s a true ancient grain. Based on the feedback and the questions we at Jovial Foods receive, people are excited and interested to learn more. I’m happy to share some information about einkorn and what we have learned.
Einkorn is nature’s original wheat, the most ancient grain grown by the ﬁrst farmers of the Fertile Crescent more than 10,000 years ago. Einkorn is very diﬀerent from other varieties of wheat because it is the only wheat never to be hybridized. And this diﬀerence is clearly visible. Einkorn grows very tall, as wheat did long ago; each einkorn kernel is a third of the size of today’s wheat. Einkorn wheat was nearly extinct in 2009, when Jovial’s founders set out to replenish the purest seeds and bring this ancient grain back to life.
Einkorn was cultivated through the Bronze Age and then diminished over time. Archeologists discovered near-living proof of einkorn when two hikers came across a body protruding from a melting glacier in the Italian Alps in 1991. This body was unveiled to be that of Ötzi the Iceman, named after the region where he was found, preserved in ice for over 5,000 years. His last meal was preserved, examined and found to include Ibex meat, roots, berries and einkorn wheat.
Einkorn has always remained the purest form of wheat. Like einkorn, most plants are diploids, which mean they have one set of chromosomes from a male parent and one from the female parent. Since einkorn is the only diploid species of wheat with two sets of chromosomes, it has remained as pure as it was 12,000 years ago.
Ancient grains are thought by many to be inherently more nutritious than modern varieties, and research supports this. Einkorn is the most ancient wheat and is the result of Mother Nature’s untouchable craftsmanship.
- Oﬀers many essential dietary and trace minerals
- Good source of protein, iron, dietary ﬁber, thiamine and a number of other B Vitamins.
- Contains a signiﬁcant amount of the powerful antioxidant Lutein
- Higher Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) than durum and bread wheat
- Higher content of proteins and carotenoids than other species of wheat.
- Lower percentage of nutrient loss during processing
Einkorn can be substituted for whole wheat ﬂour in most recipes. Whether you’re baking sweet or savory you’ll get great results.