Including recipes for baking with Einkorn
Wheat has long been one of the world’s most widely consumed and cultivated grains, yet it has been transformed over the course of the past fifty to one hundred years. Once considered as iconic “amber waves of grain” and as an essential staple crop for making “our daily bread” or “staff of life,” today we are just as apt to hear about the ill effects of consuming it. Witness the increased incidence of gluten intolerance or “wheat belly.” What has changed, in large part, is the way in which we grow our wheat and the modern varieties that have made possible enormous harvests, but at a very steep cost. Large industrial farming, dependent on monocultures and the heavy use of fertilizers and herbicides, can have deleterious effects, not only on our own health, but that of our land, water, and environment as a whole.
Fortunately, heritage “landrace” wheats—crops that have been selected over generations to be well adapted to their local environments—do not need bio-chemical interventions to grow well and yield bountifully. Yet these robust and diverse wheats that nourished our ancestors for countless generations are nearly extinct today.
In Restoring Heritage Grains, author Eli Rogosa, of the Heritage Grain Conservancy, invites readers to pore over a menagerie of “forgotten” grains: diverse, landrace wheat varieties such as emmer, a strain domesticated in the Fertile Crescent that is perfect for pasta and flatbreads; mirabil, or the “miracle wheat”; durum, a high-protein, low-gluten variety; and Indian wheat, also known as shot, a rare species that is drought-tolerant and high in protein. These and the many other heritage grains Rogosa exhibits each have a lineage intertwined with that of the human species, and can and should be grown once again.
Combining the history of grain growing and society, in-depth practical advice on landrace wheat husbandry, wheat folktales and mythology, and recipes for flours, breads, and beers, Restoring Heritage Grains invites readers to explore a rich history that has only recently been overshadowed by modern industrial wheat. In the end, organically grown, diverse wheat may well be one the best solutions to hunger, one that will be needed to feed the world’s growing population in the decades to come.