According to Greek mythology, pure spelt was a gift from the goddess Demeter to the ancient Greeks. The seafaring people were to teach the rest of the world how to use and honour spelt while travelling. Ancient grains were also honoured by the holy Benedictine abbess, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179): She praised pure spelt as a "universal medicine" and as "the best grain, it has a warming and oiling effect, is high-quality and is gentler than any other grains.".
According to scientists Thomas Miedaner and Friedrich Longin (Unterschätzte Getreidearten – Einkorn, Emmer, Dinkel & Co.", Agrimedia Verlag 2012), the oldest finds of spelt originated from Neolithic settlements in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. in western Georgia and Mesopotamia. Thanks to archaeological finds, it is possible to follow the trail of spelt across the Black Sea, Bulgaria and Poland to Sweden and Denmark. In Central Europe, spelt cultivation has only been traced back to the late Bronze Age (1100 – 800 B.C.).
According to scientific knowledge, spelt represented 20 to 70% of the cultivated crop in the Neckar region at that time. According to Miedaner and Longin, spelt was still the most important grain in Swabia and southern Baden in 1881. But by the 1950s, spelt was only cultivated in a few locations. However, with the growing awareness of ecological agriculture, spelt was able to establish itself again over the following decades.
Ancient grains have their own particular characteristics in terms of cultivation and processing. You have to know how to handle them. But the effort is worthwhile, since ancient grains are treasures worth preserving that have great potential! The expected yield of spelt falls short of the yield figures for common wheat, which makes every single grain a treasure.
Spelt is a nutritional grain, meaning that the grain is enclosed by a solid husk, which protects it from harmful environmental influences. Because the grains are still enclosed even after the husks have been threshed, they must be removed in an additional operation in special mills.
When you click on the points, the photos show spelt at various processing stages: Grains, meal and flour.
Spelt has a wide range of uses in the kitchen: milled, kibbled or as a whole grain. Not only have bread and rolls made from spelt flour become widespread in the meantime, but spelt noodles, crackers, dumplings, casseroles, pasta products and muesli also have many followers. Freekeh is often used for burgers, soups and stews.