Einkorn- The World’s First Wheat

Fertile Crescent Map

Map of the Fertile Crescent

About 12,000 years ago in a place known today as The Fertile Crescent agriculture was born.  We know from the archaeological record that the (likely) first grain to be domesticated and farmed was wheat.  The Fertile Crescent includes parts of the following modern day countries: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt.  It’s is shaped a little like a crescent moon- hence the name.

A particular type of wheat grows wild in the region of the world- it’s einkorn.  Einkorn was the wheat that was first picked from the wild and domesticated all those thousands of years ago.  Over the centuries that have since passed humans have modified and cross bred with other grasses; einkorn and other early forms of wheat (emmer and spelt).  What we are left with today is modern wheat- which is actually very different from ancient einkorn.

Major differences between modern wheat and einkorn

  1. it’s kernals are smaller and have a husk, modern wheat is larger and has no husk
  2. einkorn has about 30% more protein, it also has about 15% less starch, which means it has fewer carbohydrates
  3. it has more lutein, manganese, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, thiamin, niacin, iron, and vitamin b6 than modern wheat
  4. the molecular structure of the glutens in einkorn is different (there is a really scientific explanation for this ;))  This is probably the reason that is easy to digest.

In scientific studies (and non scientific studies such as my own personal experiments) einkorn can be eaten by those with non-celiac gluten intolerance and leave them symptom free!  This is the reason that I started experimenting with einkorn- I have non-celiac gluten issues and have been able to eat einkorn with no problems!  If you or someone you know has non-celiac gluten intolerance and has had a negative celiac test, you should give einkorn a try!  Of course; einkorn does have gluten so it is NOT safe for those with a definite celiac disease diagnosis.

Einkorn

To start your einkorn adventure I recommend buying Einkorn: Recipes for Nature’s Original Wheat by Carla Bartolucci.  She is an expert on baking with einkorn.  In fact her food company- Jovial Foods– is the foremost producer of einkorn flour in the world.  I order it from Amazon- and have been really pleased with it!

Happy baking and eating!

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