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Wheat A to Z: 26 Things to Know about Wheat

Wheat A to Z: 26 Things to Know about Wheat

Find out everything you need to know about wheat in history and its many different types and uses

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Aestivum
It is the most widely cultivated species of Triticum, wheat, it’s the variety you make bread with all over the world.

Buckwheat
It is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, which are popular for soups and can be transformed into flour. However, it is not related to wheat; it is not a grass and it does not belong to the cereals family.

Celiac
It is a condition caused by an adverse immune system reaction to gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat. It is not the same as wheat allergy. It is usually dealt with by choosing lifelong gluten-free diets.

Durum
It is the second most widely cultivated wheat. It contains more protein than the softer varieties. Commercially produced dry pasta is made exclusively from durum semolina. Certain home made fresh pastas (pasta fresca), such as orecchiette, cavatelli, and malloreddus, also utilize durum wheat, while others, such as tagliatelle, utilize only soft wheat, often "00," or a combination of soft and hard wheat.

Endosperm
It is the tissue surrounding the embryo. It is produced around the time of fertilization and provides nutrition in the form of starch. It constitutes about 83 percent of the kernel weight. It is the source of white flour.

Flour
It constitutes the main use of wheat, and is obtained by grounding its row grains. The main components of flour are gluten and starch. Hard durum wheat can be ground into semolina. Wheat can also be crushed or cut into cracked wheat; parboiled (or steamed), dried, crushed and de-branned into bulgur or germinated and dried to obtain malt.

Gluten
It is a protein found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. The name comes from Latin “gluten”, glue.

Hectares
They are 240 million worldwide (590 million acres) the ones dedicated to wheat cultivation, larger than for any other crop. World trade in wheat is greater than for all other crops combined. The top wheat producer is China, followed by India, Russia and the United States. It is the second world produced cereal after maize, and followed closely by rice. However, for human consumption these figures reverse, rice being the first, followed by wheat and closely by corn.

IWIS
The International Wheat Information System is a database that manages and integrates diverse information pertaining to bread wheat, durum wheat and triticale, providing genetic resources for researchers who are collecting, conserving and improving wheat, in particular for poor farmers of the developing world. 

Juice
It is made from the wheat grass, the young shoots of wheat before stalks form a head with grain. It contains no wheat gluten, and is considered by many natural health professionals to possess healing properties. Kernel. Sometimes called the wheat berry – or wheatberry, it is the seed from which the wheat plant grows. Each tiny seed contains three distinct parts that are separated during the milling process to produce flour: endosperm, bran and germ. When grounded, it produces whole wheat flour, much more nutritious than refined white flour, which retains the endosperm only.

Litter
Wheat straw is used as bedding for animals such as horses, cows and pigs, as well as for medium-quality food for ruminants. Miller’s bran. It is the hard outer covering of the kernel that contains large amounts of essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and protein. One of nature's richest sources of food fiber, it is very popular in breakfast’s cereals and sometimes used to enrich bread.

Nile
The Nile Delta, together with the whole Fertile Crescent region, is where wheat was first domesticated as far back as 9000 BC. Wheat's ability to self-pollinate greatly facilitated the selection of many distinct domesticated varieties.

Oil
It is extracted from the germ of the wheat kernel, which makes up only 2.5% by weight of the kernel. It is the richest source of Vitamin E than any other vegetable oil. Due to its beneficial effects on the skin, it is very popular for external application; it is also used as a physical performance-enhancing agent as it improves cardio-vascular function.

Protein
Wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein in human food, having an higher protein content than soybeans or other major cereals as maize or rice. The whole grain is a concentrated source of proteins - as well as vitamins and minerals - while the refined grain is mostly starch.

Quail
Together with the hare, the cat, the goat wolf, the dog, the goose, the cow, the pig and the horse, it is one of the animals in which the Spirit of Wheat incarnates, according to European folklore.

Roti
It is the very popular bread eaten in South Asia. Wheat is a major ingredient in most kind of breads, as well as in biscuits, pancakes, pizzas, pies, pastries, cakes, cookies, muffins, rolls, doughnuts, porridge, gravy, boza (a fermented beverage), and breakfast cereals.

Samanu
It is the name of malt made from germinated wheat in Persian countries. It is said that it was first was made by Fatimah, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad.

Thatch
Wheat’s straw can be used as a construction material for roofing thatch. In England, it was used since the Bronze Age, and commonly used until the late 19th century. The dried plant is also used to make different utensils, among which baskets made of branches for loaves of bread.

University of Liverpool
It is a team of scientists from that scientific institution that first cracked the genetic code of wheat: its genetic sequence is four times longer than the human one. Such a huge genome is due to the fact that wheat comes from the fusion of three different plants.

Vegetarian meat
It has high protein value as it is made of wheat’s gluten; its texture and look once cocked make it look similar to meat: it’s the seitán, a food coming from the Far East - China and Japan in particular - more and more popular in Western countries.

Weizenbier
It is the German name for the so-called “white beer” (“bière blanche” in French), a beer produced by wheat fermentation (always along with barley’s malt). The most popular variety is Hefeweizen. White beer is characterized by its slightly creamy texture and its sweetish flavor.

Xu Tong
He’s the director of “Wheat Harvest”, a 2008 controversial Chinese documentary. It sketches the double life of the young Niu Hongmiao, who cares for her sick father in the countryside and works in Beijing as a prostitute.

Yellowish
It is the tint of freshly milled flour. The common white color of flour is obtained with flour bleaching agents, chemical additives used to make it appear whiter.

Zadock scale
It is a cereal development scale widely used in research and agriculture to know the stages of development of a crop in order to manage it. The scale is 10 to 92. For example, nitrogen and herbicide applications must be completed during a specific stage of the crop’s growth. In France, the recommendation for the first nitrogen application on wheat is 6 weeks before Z30; growth regulators are typically applied at Z30.

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