Learning about Einkorn Wheat
We spent a few hours tonight at a small farm nearby that is one of three growing einkorn wheat for us this year in Italy. Stefano is one of our farmers and is growing einkorn for the first time. The other day, he excitedly told us the plants now have spikelets and he was surprised at how visibly different they are. He described einkorn as simply beautiful. Here is what our einkorn looks like today.
We compared a modern durum wheat plant with einkorn today to show you the difference.
Modern durum wheat is on the left and has plump spikelets or grains. Einkorn is to the right and has noticebly smaller grains.
Here we have a single einkorn plant to the left and a single durum wheat plant to the right. Breeders redesigned wheat for thick stalks to prevent lodging in the wind and they also engineered less plant and more grain to increase yields by getting the plant to put energy in the top and not waste energy at the bottom.
The root system also changed. Einkorn has strong and more abundant roots, making it a very hardy and rustic plant that naturally outpowers weeds without the need for herbicides.
The word einkorn is German and means one grain. Einkorn has one grain on each side of its shaft. Modern durum wheat has multiple grains that spiral around the shaft. We believe that bigger is not always better. Einkorn yields three to four times less than modern wheat and that is why this most ancient wheat risks extinction today. However, there are more ways to judge value and einkorn is a clear winner when you compare nutrition, purity and sustainability.