What is Spelt?
I mentioned spelt in my first episode of Monday Meet Whole Foods: Wonder Flour, but this week we're going to find even more uses for this excellent grain. Spelt is actually a species of wheat, but is often easier to digest by people with some wheat allergies. Spelt is an ancient grain that has existed for thousands of years. In fact, there are a few references to it in the bible, Ezekiel 4:9 and Isaiah 28:25 both mention fitches, which is the grain spelt. Spelt has a wonderful nutty flavor that is delicious! Spelt has a strong hull that makes it excellent for long-term storage.
How do I use it?
Spelt berries can be sprouted, ground into flour, or cooked. You can also find spelt rolled into flakes (similar to oats). To cook spelt, just add three parts water for every one part spelt. You can cook it on the stove top for 90-120 minutes, in the electric pressure cooker for 20 minutes, or in a stove top pressure cooker for 45 minutes.
Cooked spelt berries are delicious as a breakfast cereal, in salads, soups and desserts. You can also use cooked spelt in place of cooked rice in many recipes. Spelt flour is wonderful in cookies, muffins, pancakes, crackers, pastas, or breads. Spelt is high in gluten so you can use it in yeasted breads.
Where can I buy it?
Spelt berries can be bought in bulk from grain companies, at health food stores or at some grocery stores like WinCo foods. They also sell it on Amazon: Bob's Red Mill Organic Spelt Berries, 24-Ounce (Pack of 4) or in Bulk: Spelt Berries, 45 lbs. in Sturdy Bucket
How healthy is it?
Spelt is an excellent source of manganese and a good source for protein, copper and zinc. Spelt contains more protein and minerals than wheat. Spelt is high in fiber, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels when consumed. Lower cholesterol is important to control or prevent heart disease and diabetes. Consuming spelt and other whole grains several times a day has been shown to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. If you're interested, here is an in-depth nutrient analysis of spelt.
Got a Recipe?
This week I'll be sharing some of my favorite recipes using spelt. If you have a favorite spelt recipe, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail!