What is Spelt?
Spelt (Triticum spelta), a close relative of common wheat (Triticum aestivum), has been an important food grain since ancient times. In Greek mythology, it was a gift from Demeter, the mother goddess of harvests. Grown as early as 5000 BC, it has been widely cultivated in Europe and the Middle East.
Spelt is a hulled grain. With the universal adoption of mechanized grain processing in the 20th century, hull-less common wheat replaced it because it was simply easier to process.
Along with other ancient grains (einhorn, kamut), it’s grown in popularity as a health food. Also, it can replace for common wheat in the diets of many people who have problems digesting common wheat. Important: Spelt is not gluten-free, so it is not appropriate for people who are sensitive to or unable to tolerate gluten (celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity).
The exact reasons why some people who can’t digest common wheat can eat spelt are not completely understood. The main hypotheses are 1) that they react less to the gluten in spelt due to a different chemical composition or 2) that spelt contains lower amounts of FODMAP carbohydrates. FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. They pass unprocessed into the large intestine where bacteria ferment them. The gas produced can result in severe bloating and flatulence in sensitive individuals (most people do not have these symptoms).
When Do We Eat?
We find the nutritional science fascinating, but we’re cooks and diners, not scientists. We are just happy to find a basic ingredient in our kitchen that we can use to cook foods that we wouldn’t be able to eat otherwise: breads, pastas, dumplings, and pastries for starters. Our goal is to develop a kit of basic recipes that can serve as building blocks for just about anything we want to eat: tested, easy to make recipes for breads, pasta, pizza, pastry, and much more. Visit About our Recipes for more information.
While we believe in healthy eating, we’re not very interested in “health food” as such. We enjoy foods that are fresh and delicious, and we love to explore cuisines from all over the world. Wheat is universal in cuisines from Chicago to Shanghai; replacing it with spelt lets us cook and eat whatever we want with comfort and convenience.