Kamut, also known as Khorasan wheat (khorassan), is one of the oldest grains. The kernels of this ancient grain are almost twice as large as those of conventional wheat. When cooked, the mild, slightly nutty taste of kamut goes well with many dishes.
Cooked kamut berries make a great side dish served alongside vegetables or used as the base for a salad. Soak the kamut overnight before cooking and then discard the soaking water afterwards. Similar to spelt or wheat, Khorasan wheat flour is ideal for baking as it makes a dough that is elastic and holds together well. Kamut bread stays fresh for a long time. Similar to durum wheat, kamut is particularly suitable for the production of pasta. Kamut flakes also make for a great addition to your daily muesli.
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Kamut (Khorasan wheat) is becoming increasingly popular. In comparison to wheat, it has not been hybridized to increase yield and has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Almost every organic shop, health food store, and well-stocked supermarket sells kamut wheat berries, kamut semolina, and/or kamut flour. In Europe, most kamut products on the market are organic.
Preparation:Soak kamut overnight in 2–2.5 times the amount of unsalted water. Cook for 30–45 minutes the next day. Let sit for another 30–60 minutes before serving.Storing:If you cook too much at once, you can store the cooked kamut in the refrigerator and eat the following day. However, it is always better to prepare dishes fresh. Whole, crushed, or ground kamut should be stored like conventional grains — preferably in a dry, cool place and protected from light.
Kamut contains more protein, unsaturated fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals than other wheat varieties. It is also rich in vitamins E, B2, B5, B6, and folic acid. In addition, this ancient grain contains magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. The trace element selenium keeps skin and hair healthy.Health aspects:Cooked or raw, kamut is particularly rich in polyphenol compounds. The polyphenols found in kamut have antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties.
People with a gluten sensitivity (nonallergic and nonautoimmune gluten-related dysfunction) often tolerate kamut better than other wheat varieties. Many people react to wheat because they have a wheat allergy and not because of a gluten intolerance, which is often mistakenly assumed as the cause. Today, it is well known that gluten intolerance is linked to the breeding and genetic engineering of modern cereal and grain varieties. Conventional wheat has been greatly modified in recent years to increase yields and improve resistance.
Over time, wheat has not only lost its original protein structure, but now also contains new artificial genes that make it resistant to predators. It is therefore no surprise that modern wheat — which contains significantly more genes than ancient grains — causes an increased sensitivity in those who eat it.
Kamut berries also contain a high percentage of fiber. Regular fiber intake and sufficient fluids keep the intestines healthy.
Dangers/Intolerances:Like all types of wheat, kamut contains gluten, but in a different form than in conventional wheat. People with a gluten intolerance (celiac disease) must take this into consideration. Some people who normally don’t tolerate foods well that contain gluten don’t have any problems digesting kamut. However, it always depends on the severity of the gluten intolerance. In the case of a very severe intolerance or allergies, it is best not to experiment with kamut.The exact origin of kamut is unclear. It is thought that the Ancient Egyptians were the first to cultivate kamut. However, modern DNA analysis has shown that the real home of Khorasan wheat, as its name suggests, is the Khorasan Province in northeastern Iran. Local cultivation areas have included the Fertile Crescent (Egypt, Levant, Anatolia, Iraq, and Iran) and the Caucasus Mountain region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Dagestan).Cultivation and harvest:Like einkorn and emmer wheat varieties, Khorasan wheat is one of the oldest cultivated grains; in fact, it has been cultivated for about 6,000 years. Although the yields of ancient grains are lower, they are easier to grow and less susceptible to diseases and pests. The average yield is 12 dt/ha. The maximum yield of conventional wheat is 10 times higher.
After the rediscovery of Khorasan wheat in the United States, in 1987 a farmer named Robert Quinn registered it under the ancient Egyptian word kamut (“soul of the earth”) for Kamut International, Ltd. In 1990, the American Department of Agriculture officially recognized Kamut as a “new variety.” Today, kamut is mainly cultivated in North America and Southern Europe.3
Khorasan wheat (Triticum turgidum x polonicum), an old variety of spring wheat, originated from natural hybrids of durum wheat (Triticum durum) and a wild form of wheat (Triticum polonicum).1 Botanically speaking, kamut (khorassan, khorasan) belongs to the grass (Poaceae) family as do all other grains.
Kamut has many different botanical names. Homotypic synonyms include the following: Triticum turgidum subsp. turanicum (Jakubz.) Á.Löve (1961), Gigachilon polonicum subsp. turanicum (Jakubz.) Á.Löve (1984), and Triticum durum subsp. turanicum (Jakubz.) L.B.Cai. (1991). Heterotypic synonyms: Triticum orientale Percival, Triticum percivalii E. Schiem., Triticum percivalianum Parodi, and Triticum turanicum var. quasinotabile Udachin & Potokina.2