of the magazine “OBJECTIVE” in the EU
“Many, probably, during their childhood have stumbled upon an interesting word spelled as «farro» in Pushkin’s ” The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda”. Why did Balda eagerly ask the pope to feed him farro explicitly?
“I will come as thy servant, I’ll be splendid, and punctual, and fervent; And my pay for the year is—three raps on thy head; Only, give me boiled farro when I’m fed.”
The long forgotten…
Our ancestors were fed only natural foods, and it appears that farro was the ancestor of the modern wheat. All modern wheat varieties are derived from it.
In Babylon and in Ancient Egypt, farro acted as the main cultivated cereal. It is mentioned in the poems of Homer and the writings of Herodotus. Farro was sown on the vast territory from Ethiopia and southern Arabia to the Caucasus. In the ancient civilizations of Babylon, Sumer and ancient Egypt, farro was the main wheat used in daily diet.In the Mediterranean, traces of farro belonging to several millennia BC are found.
Later, this culture moved to the North and has spread almost all over Europe. On the territory of Kievan Rus, the culture of farro was also known from ancient times – from the V century BC. The peasants who lived there highly valued farro for its simplicity of cultivation and unpretentiousness. Its ears did not crumble when ripe, the stems did not lie even in strong winds and rains, the plant itself did not hurt and did not spoil the pests. It had only one disadvantage: farro gave little grain and was difficult to clean, but this was more than compensated by the fact that it took little to no effort to be taken care of.
Farro became known in Europe as “spelt”. A question arises: since relatively recently (only 150 years ago), our ancestors have preferred “the spelt-farro” as the favored grain crop, how did the soft wheat flood the modern world market. Today, soft wheat is only outproduced by corn. What about “spelt-farro”? It is definitely not yet abandoned!
After the Second World War, almost everyone forgot about it, except for those who tried to save and accumulate it. This has happened due to the globalization of the market, which has brought agricultural crops to the priority, which corresponded to the laws of business – a minimum of production costs, the ability to operate with large volumes, simple processing. Due to such reason, “the spelt-farro”, buckwheat and others, which are extremely important for a balanced human nutrition culture, have been replaced by the expansion of business cultures.
The process went on until the 80s of the last century, when dieticians suddenly began mentioning the beneficial properties of the grated farro cereals. And the cooks, in addition to porridges, soup or bread, began to produce tender creams or, by sprinkling it with cheese, fried in them with breadcrumbs. In Italy, however, risotto was traditionally cooked from farro, and in India, Iran and Turkey, which also grows wheat and spelt, side dishes for fish and poultry are quite unthinkable without it. It has become so popular that it was even named as the “black caviar of grains”.
Popular science in relation to spelt.
Since ancient times, the wild-growing types of wheat, the most probable progenitors of today’s soft and hard wheat, have been named as farro, without dividing them into classes. Today, such division has been established, the distinctive features between farro and spelt are now known. In addition, the farro, in turn, is divided into single-grain and two-grain class. But a more severe difference lies in the number of chromosomes, protein structure and nutritional value.
Thus, single-grained farro has two sets of chromosomes, two-grained has four, and spelt has six. Externally, the seeds of spelt and farro, especially milled, are only slightly different, but there is a difference in terms of basic characteristics.
Farro is often seen as a cereal crop, and spelt is seen as a crop for the production of flour and by-products (of bread with added flour of soft wheat, noodles, pasta, etc.). The local name of farro in German is “dinkel”.
Efforts of the breeders and nature allowed mankind to create massive business varieties of wheat. Nevertheless, there is always a price that must be paid. And the price lies in the reduced quality of modern wheat. Thus, a fraction of protein is more than 25% in the spelt, gluten 43-45%, and in wheat 12-13% and 25-28%, respectively. As for the difference in the amount of macro and micronutrients, it is striking and thought-provoking. There is more than 13% potassiumin in spelt, 60% more phosphorus, 70% more sulfur, 30% more magnesium, 28% more zinc, 15% more copper , and more selenium by 150%.
Spelt contains almost all the nutrients needed by people in a harmonious and balanced combination — and not only in the shell of the grain, but in uniformly, throughout the grain. This means that it retains the nutritional value even in a state of being finely grinded.
Many nutritionists agree that the current rise of autoimmune and allergic diseases are largely associated with the rejection of eating such plants such as farro, wild amaranth, with a normal human set of chromosomes. These are plants that have survived to this day in a pristine “natural” form. Could it be due the genetic memory in our body?
Keeping up with science
In Switzerland, bakery and groats made from spelt and farro are more expensive than the similar products from conventional wheat in about 4-5 times. Farro is cultivated there exclusively for medicinal purposes. Swiss scientists explain that all food products that are obtained from farro: bread, pasta, cereals – contribute to body’s strength. The use of these products strengthens the immune system and makes the body less susceptible to allergic diseases. It is no accident that these products are primarily provided by children’s institutions, sanatoria and hospitals, and only then they are put on sale. In such way, the Swiss are protecting their younger generation, primarily from allergies. A Swiss biotechnologic company, TOR Biologos GmbH, a member of the European Association TORtec Group, has developed a number of new native protein products based on spelt, including the yeast and the wort. Obviously, these products will appear on the market this year. The representatives of the company, in search of suitable places for organic farming, have visited Bulgaria and Ukraine, where bio-plants shall be placed, as well as plantations of cultures, which are included into recent studies into a set of functional human nutrition and health.
Here’s another example. In North America, products, which are made from spelt are in the niche of the expensive diet products. Not only porridges and pasta are made from it, but also soups, cutlets, pancakes, desserts and creams. Such preference for spelt-farro is explained by the fact that the protein of this culture is not as allergic as the protein of ordinary wheat. People with partial gluten intolerance can eat spelt products. Experienced allergists beleive that even if a person is allergic to all cereals and contained gluten, this does not mean that an allergy to the spelt will appear.
Spelt grown in the USA, is on sale today in Russia under the trade name “Kamut”. There is a bakery in Wales where you can buy the most expensive bread in the country. “Bread of Heaven” is a new product worth £ 2, which is four times more expensive than the conventional bread. According to the manufacturer, it is made from wheat, spelt or real farro, which was present at the table of Christ and the apostles during their final meal.
Today, the pollution of human habitats, especially in urban and industrial areas, causes hardly diagnosed allergic diseases, and sometimes severe pathologies. Moreover, spelt products act as powerful means of preventing such diseases along with products already known for their amaranth properties.
In comparison to the modern wheat, spelt-farro grains contain more essential amino acids, fiber, minerals and antioxidants, which help the prevention of cardiovascular and oncological diseases.
The direct way to longevity is a healthy lifestyle. During our everyday life, problems and stress, sitting in front of the TV or a a computer monitor, we forget about the most important – about the simple things: the food must be functional, the consumed water must be clean, and the body active, that is, to bear and exercise. Try, as they say, and feel the difference!