Spelt is another member of the farro family and goes by the name Farro Grande. It was originally cultivated in what is now Iran and possibly simultaneously in southeastern Europe.
It was a staple of its day and is one of the very first wheats used to make bread. In the Middle Ages, it was even thought to heal illnesses. With the westward movement of early civilization, spelt moved as well until its presence was extensive. It even shows up in Greek Mytholoogy and was believed to be a gift from the Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and the harvest.
Spelt, like Einkorn and Emmer, possesses a tough husk called a hull. The hull protects its nutrients and stays on until right before it’s made into flour or sold as a whole grain. In its time, Spelt, along with the other hulled wheats, was considered poor person food and was a staple among the peasant class. It makes an appearence in Roman poetry, the bible, and even Dante’s Inferno. As it gave way to wheats that were considered easier and more desirable, it lost popularity.
Like its sibling wheats in the farro family (einkorn and emmer), spelt is still grown in limited amounts in some regions – specifically, Germany and Switzerland. But it’s spreading! Spelt was introduced into the United States in the 1890s. Now, it’s resurfacing as a healthier and more pure option compared to normal wheat. It hasn’t undergone so much alteration and thus retains many of its original qualities which is always a good sign for health food lovers.
Another great thing about spelt is it can be substituted straight across for modern wheat unlike einkorn or some of the other grains. So, it’s very easy to incorporate spelt into your diet. Go here to see why you should!