History of Einkorn – the Stone Age Wheat 

Prime Einkorn (Triticum monococcum) originates from the oldest ancestor of our modern day wheats and is one of the first cereals cultivated for food. Einkorn was a popular cultivated crop during the Neolithic and early bronze age, 10,000 - 4000 BC.  In fact, an unleavened bread made from einkorn was part of the last meal of "Otzi", the famous 5300 year-old Iceman mummy discovered in an Alpine glacier in 1991.

Einkorn is not considered to be a direct ancestor of today’s wheat, however they both have the same forefather, wild einkorn (Triticum boeoticum).

Fortunately einkorn did not disappear as cultivation continued in isolated regions on into the 20th century, enabling Prime Grains Inc. to source and propagate our variety Prime Einkorn from a mere handful of this ancient grain.  We are pleased and proud to be able to reach into the past by again growing and offering this remarkable historical  grain in the twenty-first century. 

Characteristics of Prime Einkorn  

Einkorn is a covered wheat which means it threshes with the complete spikelet intact. Further processing is required to remove the bracts (or hulls) enclosing the kernel.  Prime Grains Inc. has researched and developed a hulling process to make a usable grain.

The most remarkable characteristics of Prime Einkorn is its exquisite taste and its high protein content.  Einkorn consistently and significantly has the highest protein content of any wheat variety or species.  In testing with other Einkorn varieties, Prime Einkorn was found to be at the very top end of protein content.  

Einkorn is considered more nutritious than hard red wheat based on the higher levels of protein, crude fat, ash, phosphorus, potassium, pyridoxine and beta-carotene. Trials in Austria found that, when compared with wheat and spelt, einkorn showed a higher percentage of essential amino acids important for nerve function.

Einkorn has been found to be three to eight times higher in carotenoids than common wheat. Carotenoids are a group of plant-synthesized fat soluble pigments including beta-carotene and about 50-60 other similar compounds.  Carotenoids mediate cellular functions and behave as protective antioxidents considered to aid the prevention of cancer and to reduce the incidence of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Lutein is the major yellow pigment in wheat grains found to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts and provides protection against heart disease and cancer.   Einkorn has the highest levels of lutein. among wheat species.  In tests comparing the natural lutein in Einkorn flour with lutein-fortified flour, it was found that the losses of lutein during processing were less in the einkorn flour than the lutein-fortified products.  (J. Agri. Food Chem. 2010, 58(18) pp 10109-10117)   .  In testing with other Einkorn varieties, Prime Einkorn was found to be at the very top end for yellow pigment.

Similarly, Italian researchers found that in the process of bread baking, einkorn had less percentage loss of its cartenoids than did regular wheat.  

Prime Einkorn at Farmer Direct Co-op inspection time

Prime Einkorn Products 
With Prime Einkorn products, nutritional quality and flavor are enhanced, leaving common wheat products tasteless and insipid by comparison.  With its excellent taste, it is showing good potential for bread making as well as many other products such as pastry, pastas, confectionary and breakfast cereals.  Many claim that pancakes made from Prime Einkorn are the best they have ever eaten.

Prime Einkorn Whole Flour 

Our Prime Einkorn flour is milled with nothing removed or added.

The rich yellow color is indicative of its high levels of carotene and carotenoid components.  2008 Italian research showed that the rate of cartenoid loss during storage was less in einkorn flour than bread wheat flour.

In two years testing (2002/2003) with 14 other einkorn varieties, Prime Einkorn was found to grow considerably taller, mature later and has the smallest kernels.  Regarding baking qualities indicated by SDS Sedimentation test, the highest score among the other varieties was 10.9, while Prime Einkorn scored much higher at 29.7 (2002) and 45.5 (2003).  This was however lower than the control bread wheat at 59.5 and 58.5.

Einkorn gluten varies according to growing conditions and generally is a weaker gluten for baking than bread wheats.  Einkon gluten has a gliadin to glutenin ratio of 2:1 compared to 0.8:1 for hard red wheat.  This ratio is related to the water absorption, mixing time and volume.  In general a heavier loaf of bread can be expected.   Combining regular flour with Prime Einkorn flour makes excellent bread.


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