Einkorn is the most ancient form of wheat and is defined as “The ancient grain of the Pharaohs”, “Last meal of Christ”, or “The Bread of the Thracians”.
It is believed that the first cultivated Einkorn is about 7500 BC in the period of Dograncharski Neolithic. Grains of Einkorn were found in ancient Thracians’ tombs as well as in different places of the Egyptian pyramids. Grains of wild Einkorn were found in excavations dating back to the Paleolithic period in the Middle East. DNA prints lead to the assumption, that Einkorn was initially cultivated near Karadag – field in southeast Turkey, where a large number of agricultural settlements of that era were found. Interestingly, one and the same type of wheat is detected at several places and – during the time passed – it did not change. During the Bronze Age, Einkorn‘s cultivation had gradually decreased at the expense of other crops.
A significant change in growing wheat became after World War II, because of famine (big hunger). At that time different methods to increase the yield of wheat applied, including genetic modification. Impurities appeared and the modern wheat entirely replaced the Einkorn.
Today Einkorn is a relict – an almost forgotten plant, almost without economic significance, grown as a regional type in Morocco, Turkey, Bulgaria and some mountain areas in France.
History of Einkorn
Wheat accompanied mankind, since the dawn of civilization. It is one of the first cultivated plant species. The reason for this is the inherent ability of self-pollinate. Its quality is the basis of selections taking place in different parts of the world and a huge number of varieties of wheat were created.
According to archaeological data, the first wheat varieties, were grown in the Fertile Crescent, already mentioned, and in the delta of the Nile. On the map of the world today these regions are located in the territory of Turkey, Syria, Israel and Egypt. Aaccording to different evidences, the wheat was used for food before its cultivation. The recent archaeological excavations found more information on this issue and give us a reason to believe that the first domestication of wheat took place in what is now southeastern Turkey and that this wheat was precisely Einkorn.
Over the centuries, the cultivation of wheat spread into other areas. There is evidence that cultivated wheat – actually Einkorn – was used as food in 6500 BC in Greece and Cyprus, around 5000 BC in Spain and Germany, two thousand years later in the Scandinavian Peninsula and the islands of modern Britain, and 1000 years later in China.
Through genetic analysis, it was shown that exactly the Einkorn is that ancient wheat, which was grown in what is now southeastern Turkey. Not far from those places – in Bulgaria, in the Thracian tombs – archaeologists have found Einkorn grains as well. Through a methodology, based on an analysis by carbon isotopes, this was proven as well as the period of time when it happened – about 7800 BC. Recent data suggest that the sorts Triticum diccocum Schrank and Triticum durum come from the same region. Practically all wheat varieties created later, were derivated from the Einkorn.
Einkorn has a thin, tight stem, high above the meter. The class is concise and grain – hidden in a tight-fitting sheaths. Einkorn is not easy to handle. To grind grain flour, they first need to get rid of his hard scales. The yields thereof are between 100 and 300 kg per hectare. Einkorn can not be forced to grow faster by chemical means, with which are treated with modern hybrid wheats. Einkorn does not absorb harmful substances from the soil (eg heavy metals) – this feature of the modern varieties more often is a problem in our polluted industrial world.
Health benefits of consuming spelled
People say that since they eat einkorn, look better, feel better, are healthier, more vital. Why is this so?
• Einkorn is a healthy plant that is not suffering from anything, not treated with chemicals and even planted in contaminated soil, it does not take unnecessary substances from it.
• Einkorn is alkaline food. Much of modern diseases today are caused by the use of mainly food with acidity, lack of minerals and trace elements in the human body.
• Einkorn has antioxidant properties, stimulates metabolism, contributes to the removal of toxins from the body and activating the kidneys, improves digestion and circulation and has vasodilator properties, unlike the rest wheat has an alkaline effect, easily digestible, supports intellectual activity.
• With einkorn we get much-needed zinc, manganese, iron and many micro-elements and bioactive components of health promotion – fiber, phenols, tocopherols and carotenoids. It is rich in vitamins A, C and E, proteins and minerals (zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus).
Vitamin E plays a protective role in the cardiovascular system, helps gonadal function, and is also relatively good antioxidant – promotes rapid removal from the body of free radicals.
Minerals in turn contribute to the normal physiological condition of the body. Scientific studies have shown that the zinc content of einkorn produced in Bulgaria, is several times greater, than that produced in other countries.
The high content of magnesium makes spelled extremely useful food for athletes and people especially those who suffer from muscle cramps and strains.
• Compared to ordinary wheat grown today, Einkorn contains more protein, minerals, phytosterols, carotenoids and vitamins, as well as the protein is at times more easily digested by them. Total protein content in spelled ranged from 13.1% to 14.28% depending on the climatic and soil conditions.
• The content of gluten in einkorn is minimal, so einkorn is indispensable for people suffering from celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a condition, that does not absorb a specific protein (gluten) contained in the grain, so that instead of having a nutritional value, the latter is a source of toxicity to the organism. Protein composing grain spelled – gliadin, proved toxic for celiac people. They einkorn gives hope for a delicious meal and a normal, healthy life.
• Einkorn contains increased levels of proteins and yellow pigments – the adoption of lutein is associated with a reduced incidence of age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of irreversible blindness in the elderly, and cataracts. The average content of lutein, which is 80% of the carotenoids in the whole grain flours spelled, is between 8,1 and 5,2 mg / kg. These values are 4 to 8 times higher as compared to bread wheat and two times higher than durum wheat.
Cultivation of spelled
Einkorn is durable plant. It is almost wild species, that can survive and develop even on very poor soils, where the cultivation of modern wheat is unthinkable. Its genome (ie the type and arrangement of genes in its cells), remained unchanged for centuries. It is known that modern wheats are grown easily and give large yields as a result of years conducted selection of varieties. Unfortunately, this process is associated with loss of some of the useful qualities of the food. Therefore einkorn is so valuable – the nutritional quality of its grains have remained unchanged for centuries.
Cultivation spelled practically made only by organic way, because it is not needed any fertilizer. The requirement is that the soil is plowed well and disc. Einkorn can be planted in the fall and in April. The root system is one feature that literally destroys weeds. Not accidentally wild plant was used for cleansing the field. At least five years the land can not be fertilized when growing wild wheat. Basically einkorn grows unpretentious soils, where nothing else can be done. Do not need fertilizing, weed control and pests. This is the result of rapidly developing root system. Well protected by four weed wheat attacked by insects and is resistant to fungal diseases.
The yield varies from 80 to 150 kg per hectare.