In this article we will discuss about origin and cultivation of wheat.
Origin of Wheat:
Cultivation of wheat started after 8000 BC. Jared Diamond traces the spread of cultivated emmer wheat starting in the Fertile Crescent about 8500 BC. Archaeological analysis of wild emmer indicates that it was first cultivated in the southern Levant with Iran as for back as 9600 BC. Genetic analysis of wild einkorn wheat suggests that it was first grown in the Karacadeg Mountain in South eastern Turkey.
Remains of harvested emmer from several sites near the Karacadag Range have been dated between 8600 (at Cayonu) and 8400 BC (Abu Hureyra). That is in the Neolithic period. Iraq-ed-Dubb is the exception where the earliest Carbon dated remains of domesticated emmer wheat were found is the earliest levels of Tell Aswad, in the Damascus basin near Mount Hermon in Syria.
The cultivation of emmer reached Greece, Cyprus and India by 6500 BC, Egypt after 6000 BC and Germany and Spain by 5000 BC. The early Egyptians were developers of bread or the use of over and developed baking into one of the first large-scale food production industries.
By 3000 BC, wheat had reached England and Scandinavia A millennium later it reached China. The first identifiable bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) with sufficient gluten for yeasted breads has been identified using DNA analysis in samples from a grainary dating to approximately 1350 BC at Assiros in Greek Macedonia.
Wheat (Triticum sp.) is a cereal grain originally from the Levant region of the near East and Ethiopian Highlands. It is now cultivated worldwide. In 2010 the world production of wheat was 65 million tons. It is the third most produced cereal after maize (844 million tons) and rice (672 million tons).
Wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein in human food, having a higher protein content than other major cereals, maize and rice. The wheat crops are easily cultivated on large scale. Wheat contributed to the emergence of city states is the Fertile Crescent including Babylonian and Assyrian empires.
It is a staple food used to prepare many items like bread, biscuit, cookies, cakes, breakfast, cereal, pasta, couscous, noodles. Fermentation is done to make beer, alcoholic beverages and bio-fuels.
It is a forage crop for live stock. Straw of wheat can be used as a construction material for roofing thatch. After removing bran and grain from the whole grain endosperm in milled to from white flour. Whole grain is source of vitamins, minerals and proteins. The refined grain has starch only.
Cultivation of Wheat:
The major varieties of wheat cultivated are as follows:
1. Diploid species:
Einkorn wheat (Triticum monoccum):
It is a diploid species with wild and cultivated varieties. It was domesticated at the same time as emmer wheat, but never reached the same importance.
2. Tetraploid species:
Durum wheat (Triticum durum):
This is the only tetraploid wheat grown in ancient times.
3. Hexaploid species:
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum):
It is the most widely cultivated hexaploid species of wheat, commonly used variety in the world.
Spelt wheat (Triticum spelta):
It is also a hexalploid species but cultivated in limited quantities. Previously it was considered as a variety or subspecies of Bread wheat and called Triticum aestivum sub sp. spelta.
Most widely grown wheat species for various purposes in the world are as follows:
Wheat is very hard, trauslucent light coloured grain, used to make samolina (suji) Pasta, Bulghur (Burger), high in protein, mainly gluten protein.
Hard Red Winter:
Hard brownish, mellow high-proteins wheat used for bread, as an adjunct in other flours to increase protein in pastry flour, for pie crusts, Unbleached all purpose flours which are made from hard red winter wheat alone.
Hard Red Spring:
Hard, Brownish, high protein wheat used for bread and hard baked goods. Bread flour and high-gluten flours are commonly made from hard red spring wheat.
Soft Red Winter:
Soft, low protein wheat used for pie crusts, Biscuits, muffins, cakes, pastry flour, Cake flour etc.
Soft, light coloured, very low protein wheat grown in temperate moist areas. It is used for Die crusts, pastry, pastry flour etc.
Hard, light coloured, opaque, chalky, medium-protein wheat used for bread and brewing.
Red wheat may need bleaching. So white wheat usually commands higher prices. Raw wheat is crushed into flour. Durum wheat is used to make semolina. Germinated and dried wheat is used for making Malt, Parboiled, dried, crushed and debranned wheat is used as bulgur (groats).
The outer husk of broken wheat into parts at the mill can be used variously (Dalia). It is a major ingredient of bread, Porridge, crackes, biscuits, pancakes, pie, pastries, cakes, cookies, muffins, doughnuts, breakfast cereals (wheateng cream of wheat, shredded wheat and wheaties etc.).
The nutrient contents of wheat, hard red winter species are as follows:
Nutritional value per 100 gm is
Energy — 1,368 Kj (327 Kcal)
Carbohydrates — 71.18 gm
Sugar — 0.41
Dietary fiber — 12.2 gm
Fat — 1.54 gm
Proteins — 12.61 gm
Vitamins and Minerals:
Thiamine (Vit B1) — 0.383 mg (33%)
Riboflavin (Vit B2) — 0.115 mg (10%)
Niacin (Vit B3) — 5.464 mg (36%)
Pantothenic acid (Vit B5) — 0.954 mg (19%)
Vit. B6 — 0.3 mg (23%)
Folate (Vit B9) — 38 mg (10%)
Vit. E — 1.01 mg (7%)
Vit. K — 1.9 mg (2%)
Calcium (Ca) — 29 mg (3%)
Magnesium (Mg) — 126 mg (35%)
Manganese (Mn) — 3.985 mg (190%)
Phosphorus (P) — 288 mg (41%)
Potassium (K) — 363 mg (8%)
Sodium — 2 mg (0%)
Zinc — 2.65 mg (28%)