What is Spelt?
Spelt, or hulled wheat, is a close relative to common wheat that supplies a rich source of nutrients and a nutty flavor. One unique characteristic of the grass, Triticum spelta, is that it requires fewer fertilizers than other species of wheat. As a result, it has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to the organic farming movement. Each serving of the grain, whether as spelt berries or spelt flour, offers several grams of fiber, protein, and mucopolysaccharides- complex carbohydrates composed of dozens upon dozens of glucose molecules.
Mucopolysaccharides support strong bones and cartilage to maintain healthy joints. Thanks to their complex structure, they also offer enduring energy that is ideal for athletes that aim to carbo-load and feature a low glycemic value that can greatly benefit diabetics. Additionally, the abundance of vitamins and minerals the grain contains- particularly calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin E- may help enhance cardiovascular function. The fiber the grain contains also works to support regular digestion.
Is Spelt Gluten Free?
Spelt contains a moderate amount of gluten, which provides the perfect catalyst for leaveners to allow an adequate rise in baked goods. Due to the grain’s naturally nutty taste, it is better suited to savory goods than sweet ones. These features make it ideal for use in light breads, biscuits and pretzels. However, its gluten content does mean that the grain should be avoided by those with an intolerance to the protein, such as those afflicted by Celiac disease.
What is Spelt Flour?
Spelt flour makes use of the whole grain to produce confections with a rich nutrient content and a slight sweet tinge accenting its rich nutty savor. The pastries produced by the flour will also feature a light and fluffy texture. Use it as a suitable substitute for any recipes that call for regular or whole wheat flour. Alternatively, the flour can be combined with water to create a palatable pasta that the whole family will love.
How to Cook Spelt Berries
Spelt berries make for a scrumptious side dish to any meal with a wholesome serving of fiber and protein. In fact, the grain has historically been confused for the beloved superfood, quinoa, in numerous accounts of literature. The instructions below yield about 2¼ cups of cooked spelt.
- If possible, for improved taste and texture, soak 1 cup of uncooked spelt berries in water overnight.
- When ready to cook, drain spelt berries.
- Place 3 cups of water into a pot with spelt and set to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the pot to a simmer and cover it.
- Let the pot simmer for 40 - 60 minutes if berries have been soaked or 60 - 80 minutes if not.
- Once berries are chewy, remove from heat and drain.
- Serve and enjoy!