Spelled is a wheat rich in proteins, fiber and B vitamins that is very easy to assimilate.
Spelled is the best food. Of great nutritional power, it is better tolerated by the body than any other grain. This seed is an ancient variety of wheat, today unknown to most. It was the basis of human nutrition for centuries and, without it, our history would have been different. But almost a century ago it fell into disuse. Why then did this cereal disappear from our pantries and from our knowledge?
Hard to peel
Spelled is a wheat with a flattened spike and a dark tan grain that is larger than common wheat. Its cultivation was relegated until recently to traditional communities that valued its characteristics, today the taste for the most natural foods and less altered by man has allowed it to be found in health food stores and herbalists.
On the other hand, it has not undergone genetic changes for centuries, unlike its more commercial relatives, highly modified, especially in this last century. And it seems that this influences its effect on the body, in the sense that it produces fewer allergies and is better digested and assimilated.
A very nutritious seed
The nutritional value of spelled also shows some positive differences from common wheat. In general, it is a moderately caloric food (about 338 cal / 100 g) and in which the nutrients that supply that energy are of very good quality. The protein content (14.5%) is usually higher than in common wheat (11.5%), and they are also slightly more complete because they are less deficient in the amino acid lysine, necessary for its assimilation. However, it must be taken into account that, although it is poorer in gluten than bread wheat, it is still a prohibited food for celiacs.
The carbohydrates in spelled (60% in raw grain and 20% in cooked) are mostly complex. They are also accompanied by abundant fiber (10% and 4%, respectively). Hence, they present a low glycemic index, that is, their assimilation in the body is slow and progressive. This prevents highs and lows in blood glucose and makes it advisable for those who make prolonged efforts.
Their fat content is very low and they have a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids, especially oleic, like olive oil, and linoleic or omega-6, both beneficial for cholesterol control. Its abundant fiber, mostly insoluble, also contributes to this effect.
Among the rest of its components are multiple substances that help maintain good health, such as vitamins B1, B2, B3, folic acid or E, minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, selenium or potassium; mucopolysaccharides, lignans, glucans, silicic acid, plant phytosterols, phenolic compounds and a multitude of combined phytochemical compounds that make it a highly recommended cereal.
An intense flavor cereal
It is usually found in grain, with its whole shell or peeled. The first is only recommended if you want to grind it at the moment to make flour at home. Cooking it directly is not advisable, as it needs to soak for about ten hours and then for almost three hours. However, once peeled, it will be ready in 30 or 40 minutes.
Another option for cooking with the grain is the flakes, which when crushed are ready in 25 minutes and absorb the flavors very well. They are usually used for soups, creams, salads, sautéed with vegetables or creamy stews, such as risotto. Always keep in mind that it requires more liquid or broth than its regular wheat counterparts.
Luciano Villar (cook)