6 Jun 2008

A Grain Called Spelt

Spelt is one of the oldest cultivated grains and has been grown in the Middle East and South-East Europe for thousands of years and the rest of Europe since the Middle Ages. The Ancient Greeks and Romans ate it as a staple food.

Spelt has a nuttier flavor and contains more nutrients than it's distant cousin wheat. Unlike other grains, spelt's tough husk protects it from insects allowing farmers to avoid using pesticides. Spelt is botanically known as Triticum speltum.

Organic spelt is generally available as a hulled whole grain (spelt berries) and as a flour and can easily replace wheat in cakes, cookies, breads and pasta recipes. It is an excellent source of vitamin B2 and manganese, and a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, niacin (B3), thiamine (B1), magnesium, copper, phosphorus, fatty acids, 8 amino acids, complex carbohydrates, silica and protein.

Spelt is much easier to digest than wheat due to it's gluten being water soluble. People are less intolerant to spelt than wheat, but those with coeliac disease should check with their health practitioner before eating it.

Store spelt grains in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Organic spelt flour should be kept in the refrigerator to best preserve its nutritional properties.


Brown Rice and Spelt Berry Salad
From Sweetwater Market, Virginia

3 cups cooked short grain brown rice
1 cup spelt berries
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup currants
1 1/2 cups parsley, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
3/4 cup walnuts, rough chopped

1/2 cup tamari
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sesame oil

Place spelt berries in a small saucepan and add enough water to cover at least five inches over the berries. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until they puff up and become slightly chewy. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, chop up the vegetables and nuts and place in a small bowl with the currants. In another small bowl, whisk together the tamari, lemon juice and sesame oil. When the grains (brown rice and spelt berries) are cool, place in a large bowl with the vegetables, currants and walnuts. Pour vinaigrette over top and mix well.

Extreme Breakfast Mock Buttermilk Makeover Biscuits
From TheWellnessWorkshop
You can use all white spelt or do a combination of ½ whole grain spelt and ½ white spelt.

1 cup whole grain spelt flour
1 cup white spelt flour
2 ½ tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
¼ cup plus 2 tbsps earth balance buttery spread
¾ cup almond milk
1 tbsps fresh lemon juice or mild vinegar

Heat oven to 450F/230C. Put oven rack in center position. Put 1 tbsp lemon juice in almond milk, it will curdle, that is good. Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda and salt together. Cut earth balance into flour until it is the size of small peas. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour in almond milk/lemon juice mixture Stir gently with a spoon and blend until mixture is clumping together. If it is too dry add a few drops of water or almond milk. Transfer dough to a lightly floured board. Pat out in a circle about 8"/20cm in diameter and ½"/1cm thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter or small glass. Bake on center oven rack for about 10-12 minutes until tops are browned.

Spelt Carob Chip Cookies
From VegFamily
Submitted by Dr. Kimberly

1/2 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance)
3/4 cup turbinado Sugar
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute, or 1 banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/4 cup spelt flour (Arrow Mills)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup carob chips

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. In large mixing bowl, beat marg with sugar, egg substitute and vanilla. Blend in flour, baking powder and salt, stir well. Fold in carob chips. Drop on oiled baking sheet by teaspoonfuls and bake 10-12 minutes or until done.

Almond Coconut Cookies
From HappyCow

1/2 cup whole spelt or wheat flour
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dried coconut shreds
1/3 cup raisins
2 tbsps canola oil
3/4 cup apple, peeled and mashed
1/4 vegan margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup ground almonds, raw or toasted
4 tbsp maple syrup or liquid sweetener
1/2 tsp salt

Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Blend apple and maple syrup and add margarine. Combine dry mixture with the apple mixture, and mix thoroughly. Scoop spoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheet or non-stick flat pan and flatten to a 1/4" / 1/2cm thickness. Bake in a preheated oven at 400F/200C for 17-20 minutes. Makes 12 cookies.

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Urban Vegan said...

Spelt is a big part of my diet--in grain form, plus I use the flour in place of white.

dreamy said...

I really have a lot to learn, I have no idea what the different types of grains are (except those usual ones) and what minerals and vitamins they have :o

Liza said...

first time i've heard of spelt since it;s not available here in the philippines. great info jackie. thanks for sharing :) happy monday!

Marion said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Spelt is more easily digested by Graham. However, I have had difficulty finding good recipes for it.

Can't wait to try the biscuits. I like the taste of spelt, when I've added the grains to soups, etc.

Daisy said...

I have problems with it crumbling up, I figure I am doing something wrong or does it just disintegrate especially easily?

Kat said...

Just making sure you saw that Oprah is doing a 21-Day Vegan Cleanse!

Chef Tal Ronnen put together a bunch of recipes using vegan products, like Earth Balance.

You can check out her whole program & the recipes here:

Rural Vegan said...

That was a really cool mini-education on spelt. Now if only I could find it in the stores, I would love to buy some!

Waterrose said...

Thanks for posting the 4x4 link on my blog. I forwarded it on to DH and he's looking at it.


I had never heard of spelt! Wow! thanks for the information. super post. I need to look into this.

Jackie said...

Daisy I sometimes have the problem of it crumbling as well, doesn't appear to be the flour but my mixture of it at fault.

maybelles parents said...

These spelt recipes are interesting. I have never used it; but really want to. And, thanks for stopping by my site.

healthusiast said...

Same here. It's my 1st time heard of spelt. Thanks for sharing the interesting information.

healthusiast said...

Same here. It's my 1st time heard of spelt. Thanks for sharing the interesting information.