Recall the deep, rich and hearty flavor of uncultivated wild rice and how, in comparison, the flavor of our common domesticated grains is pallid. Now imagine wheat with a comparably full, complex and “aah” flavor; that’s einkorn.
While this grain has been around for a long time, it’s new to our market. In Neolithic times, before the use of pottery, einkorn was one of the first domesticated wild grasses in the Fertile Crescent.
Today’s common wheat varieties (including spelt and Kamut) are either tetraploid or hexaploid and can be traced to a natural hybridization of two genetically more primitive, diploid wild grasses.
Einkorn, a relict crop, is a genetically primitive (diploid) wheat that has low yields and is not well suited for making bread. Nevertheless, it continues to grow wild in Turkey and it has remained under cultivation in a few isolated valleys.
A friend of mine who values a grain with oomph, Anpetu Oihankesni, from Cedaredge, Colorado, has grown einkorn for the past 22 years. Other than showing up at Anpetu’s table, I’ve not had access to einkorn until now. An Italian company, Jovial Foods, has recently introduced a fine line of einkorn pasta. I also welcome Jovial Foods as my newest web page sponsor.
By the way, nearly all of today’s pasta organic or otherwise – is extruded through Teflon dies and then quickly oven dried; these techniques yield a mediocre product. By far the best tasting pasta is traditionally made using brass dies and is air dried, a time-intensive step. As you might imagine, Jovial pasta is made the traditional way.
May you be well nourished!