Spelt is a cereal with many important nutritional properties; let’s find out what its benefits and how to cook it.
Spelt is probably the oldest type of wheat man cultivates. There are different varieties of this cereal: einkorn, with smaller grains, emmer, with medium size grains, and dinkel, with larger grains. Emmer is the most easily spelt to find and it is also the most common one used in recipes.
Another distinction is between husked and pearled spelt. The first one grains are wrapped in a film which is difficult to remove and makes the cooking slower. However, the second type grains are free from it and easier to cook.
In any case, this cereal is rich in benefits for the body and that can be used in many recipes. Let’s find out how!
Spelt: nutritional properties
Compared to other cereals, spelt has a higher content of proteins and fibers and is less fat. This makes it perfect for people following a slimming diet, for those who need a high intake of protein, and for those who suffer from constipation. Combined with legumes, the protein content is even greater.
Spelt is also rich in B vitamins, especially B1, B2 and B3, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Niacin (vitamin B3) helps lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels, while vitamin A is a powerful anti-oxidant. The other vitamins and minerals provide energy. In addition, the regular consumption of wholewheat spelt seems to help preventing diabetes.
This cereal is also easier to digest. Unfortunately, like all cereals, it contains gluten and therefore is not suitable for people suffering from celiac disease.
It is not high in calories: 100 grams only have 335 calories. However, it has a higher satiating effect than wheat and is great for people who want to lose weight and need to reduce portions and calorie intakes.
Once cooked, this cereal can be used in many ways. Before using it in your recipes, you should soak it in water for about eight hours and then boil it (for an hour the husked one, 30 minutes the pearlead one). You can use it to replace rice in salads, timbales, and even in risotto. It is also great in vegetable soups, while the flour made from its beans can be used for pizzas and quiches.
A fresh and light recipe is spelt salad with vegetables and smoked cheese. First, cook the cereal in salted water. While it is cooking, dice the vegetables (we recommend bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant and carrot), fry them in a pan with a little olive oil, onion, celery and salt, then drain excess oil and let cool. As soon as the spelt is ready, put it in a bowl and season it with the mixture of vegetables. Add a little oil if necessary and the diced smoked cheese.
In winter, we recommend the spelt and potato soup. Dice some onion, carrots and celery and fry them with a little oil in a saucepan. In the meantime, peel two or three potatoes, dice and add them to the onions, letting them cook for about five minutes. Finally, add raw spelt (but left to soak earlier) and a ladle of vegetable broth and let cook for about 30 minutes. Cover the pan and stir occasionally.
PHOTO SOURCE: https://pixabay.com/it/farro-grano-chicchi-organici-946046/
Nicoletta Chiara Romano