Einkorn History and Origin

Einkorn picture

Let’s take a look at the most ancient wheat there is. Einkorn, also called Farro Piccolo, is known as “nature’s original wheat.” In a world where wheat digestion is an ever present problem, it’s worth a look not only because of how it helps our bodies but, why.

Einkorn most likely originated in the Near East region known as the Fertile Crescent. This productive stretch of land boasts (not exclusively) the beginnings of many useful things, such as the wheel, glass, writing, irrigation, and…the cultivation of einkorn! However, the presence of einkorn waned into relative nonexistence until September of 1991 when Helmut and Erika Simon decided to go for a little hike in the Italian Alps. These two hikers discovered a body sticking out of a melting glacier. He later became known as Otzi the iceman. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Maybe not. His body, along with the last thing he ate, was preserved in ice for over 5,000 years. What do you think was present in Otzi’s last meal? You guessed it! Einkorn. It was clearly a staple in the region where Otzi came from. In other words, einkorn has traveled a long way to be with us today (Go here for more information).

Einkorn HO

Otzi the Iceman

 

Due to its slip into obscurity, einkorn escaped the tampering that many other grains went through. As a result, it is the only type of wheat that has never been hybridized (“crossing two genetically different individuals to result in a third individual with a different set of traits”) and still only has two sets of chromosomes. In non-scientific language, that means that it’s as pure as it was 12,000 years ago! The difference between einkorn and regular wheat is in more than the digestion and nutrition; it’s clearly visible. Einkorn grains are smaller than wheat we use today and they are lacking some of the physical properties of modern wheat, such as the crease on the side. Why does that matter? Humans originally started genetically altering grains to make them easier to mill and make into bread. This was done by increasing the gluten content which worked really well until all this gluten–intolerance started surfacing.

Now, gluten-intolerant folks and health-food seekers are searching for a return to wholesomeness in our food. Considering that einkorn has only been in our modern-day hands for the last 22 years, I’d say it’s pretty wholesome, and the research agrees (See nutritional facts for detailed information).

References:

“Einkorn Ancient Grain.” Tropical Traditions. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.

“Guest Post: A History of Einkorn.” Whole Grains Council. Oldways Preservation Trust, 19 June 2013. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.

“Nutrition.” Einkorn.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2015

Photo Credit:

www.history.com

3 responses to “Einkorn History and Origin”

  1. Charles says:

    is your einkorn grown in the USA? if yes, i’d like to know something about the farmers who raise it. thank you, Happy New Year!

  2. Ashley Quamme says:

    Einkorn for the win! My daughter can eat flour again-thank you!!!

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