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Emmer

Spikes (ears) of cultivated emmer wheat

Spikes (ears) of cultivated emmer wheat

Emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum), also known as farro especially in Italy, or hulled wheat, is a type of awned wheat. It was one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East. It was widely cultivated in the ancient world, but is now a relict crop in mountainous regions of Europe and Asia.

Emmer’s main use is as a human food, though it is also used for animal feed. Ethnographic evidence from Turkey and other emmer-growing areas suggests that emmer makes good bread (judged by the taste and texture standards of traditional bread), and this is supported by evidence of its widespread consumption as bread in ancient Egypt. Emmer bread is available in Switzerland. In Italy, whole emmer grains can be easily found in most supermarkets and groceries, emmer bread (pane di farro) can be found in bakeries in some areas, and emmer has traditionally been consumed in Tuscany as whole grain in soup. Higher in fibre than common wheat, emmer’s use for making pasta is a recent response to the health food market; some consumers, however, judge that emmer pasta has an unattractive texture. Emmer has also been used in beer production – Great Basin Brewing Company produced a limited brew made from emmer, Egyptian Ale, based off a recipe from the New Kingdom-era and the Riedenburger eco-brewery in Bavaria, Germany currently produces Emmerbier. As with most varieties of wheat, however, emmer is probably unsuitable for sufferers from wheat allergies or coeliac disease.

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