The human being can eat a very varied diet. Still and still cereals are basic in our diet, especially wheat. Due to its high consumption, this vegetable is one of the most cultivated in Spain, ranking second just after barley.
If you are interested in the subject and want to know more about this nutritious cereal, I recommend that you continue reading. We will explain what wheat is, what are its characteristics, what are the most common varieties, the applications it has, and more things.
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What is wheat?
We all have an idea of what wheat looks like. But what else do we really know about him? This non-perennial plant is part of the grass family and it has different varieties. The most cultivated are the so-called Triticum durum y Triticum compactum. As for the cereal most cultivated to make flour and bread, it is the Triticum aestivum. Later we will comment in detail on the different varieties of wheat that exist.
This vegetable produces a set of fruits that are fused with a single seed found on a terminal spike. Wheat can be found in the wild or cultivated. According to historians, the origin of this cereal occurred in the Mesopotamian civilization of the Egyptians. They discovered wheat and its use to make certain foods.
After the Neolithic revolution took place in the Near East, this cereal began to be cultivated in different parts of the world, becoming until today one of the most basic foods in our diet. Most of today's foods are made with wheat. It is estimated that this vegetable covers between 10% and 20% of the calories ingested daily.
Now that we know a little about the origin of wheat, we are going to talk about its characteristics according to the part of the plant. First of all we have the roots, that can reach a meter or more in depth. Even so, most of them are located in the first 24 centimeters of the ground. These begin to grow during the godson period, during which they are still poorly branched. The experts consider that the development of the roots is completed when the encasing is finished.
The stem of the vegetable is hollow, as if it were a reed, and it has a total of six nodes. Both its solidity and its height determine the resistance to lodging. Regarding the leaves, these are parallelinervias, wavy and tipped. The flower is made up of three stamens and a pistil. What's more, It has a protection granted by two green bracts or glumillas. As for the fruit, it is a caryopsis whose pericarp is welded to the seminal integument. The main mass of the grain is constituted by the endosperm that contains the reserve substances.
Also noteworthy are the inflorescences of wheat. It is a spike that is made up of a central stem of short internodes, called rachis. Each of these knots is located on a spikelet, which is protected by two bracts on either side. The spikelets have nine flowers each. However, they end up aborting most of the flowers, down to two to four normally. Exceptionally, it can hold up to six flowers.
Varieties of wheat
Like many other vegetables, wheat, or Triticum, has different varieties. We will discuss the most common below.
Triticum aestivum or Triticum vulgare
The most widely cultivated species of wheat in the world is the Triticum aestivum o Triticum vulgare. Between 90% and 95% of the world production of this cereal corresponds to this variety. It is about bread wheat, bread or soft, as it is the most used for making flour and bread. This species is normally cultivated in the high latitudes of the two hemispheres.
Also known as cultivated einka wheat or spelled, the Triticum monoccum it is a primitive variety of wheat. Formerly it was very important but today it is almost extinct. There are very few existing crops of this species and they are found in few mountainous areas of Europe. A curious fact: Ötzi, the man who found himself in the Italian Alps and who lived around 3300 BC. C., had seeds of the Triticum monoccum in the intestine.
Another of the most common wheats is Triticum dicocum, or farro. This ancient cereal is very closely related to spelled wheat and spelled wheat, which is why it is often confused with these species. It contains gluten, so its consumption is not suitable for those who have disorders related to it.
Durum wheat, or Triticum durum, It is also known as candeal, Sicilian, boastful, semolina or Moorish wheat. Due to its high gluten and protein content, it is one of the wheat species with the highest nutritional value. This variety is highly resistant to both disease and drought, but yields less in crops compared to other species.
Among the most common varieties of wheat is also spelled, whose scientific name is Spelled triticum. Another way of naming this species is spelled greater or greater scale. This cereal can survive in harsh, cold and humid climates. In terms of its nutritional value, it is very similar to that of common wheat. Nevertheless, spelled contains a higher proportion of both niacin and riboflavin.
The wheat field
Currently, the most represented crop in Spain is barley, followed by wheat. The latter is cultivated in all the autonomous communities of the Spanish territory, with a higher concentration in Castilla y León, which produces 40% of all wheat in Spain. Then Castilla La Mancha follows, which is around 22%.
When it comes to getting good grains in the wheat fields, the key is both temperature and rainfall. These two factors are decisive for the good development of the crop. Generally, this vegetable is quite resistant to cold, being able to survive temperatures below zero degrees. However, for these plants to flourish, they need temperatures of at least 16 degrees. Regarding water and humidity, they do not require large quantities. Even so, the ideal is to exceed 300 to 400 millimeters.
Fertilization is also an influencing factor in wheat yield. It depends on the season of the year in which the wheat has been sown, the amounts and the type of fertilizers vary. The variety of wheat and the climate also play a role.
Wheat germ properties
The most remarkable properties of wheat germ are as follows:
- Anti-aging and natural antioxidant.
- High in protein and carbohydrates. This brings health and energy to our muscles.
- High in linoleic acid or vitamin F. It helps to assimilate proteins, fats and sugars.
- It contains B vitamins. For this reason it is considered a natural beauty treatment that improves the vitality and health of hair, skin and nails.
Ultimately, the benefits of wheat germ are several thanks to the essential fatty acids and vitamins it contains:
- Control of uric acid.
- Improved circulation.
- Regulation of blood pressure.
- Helps muscle development and intestinal transit.
- Fatigue reduction.
- Reduction of nervous problems such as stress, anxiety or insomnia.
- Improvement of the appearance of the skin, especially the dry one.
- Improvement of the appearance of the hair.
Main uses of wheat
Flour is obtained from the ground grains of wheat that we use to make mainly bread, but also other foods such as cookies, pasta and cakes. There are in total two types of flour:
- Flour type A: It is the bread flour. It has a total of three quality grades, which would be the common or standard, the fine and the extra-fine.
- Type B flour: They are semolina and they cannot be baked. These are usually the flours used to make macaroni and pasta.
With the wheat grain we can not only produce flour or whole wheat flour, but also beer, semolina and other types of food. If we eat this cereal regularly, we help our body to carry out digestion, since it facilitates the deposition, favors the assimilation of food and helps to purify the organism. All this is thanks to the fiber it contains.
In conclusion, it can therefore be said that wheat is a staple in our diet. thanks to the many benefits it brings us and its high nutritional value. Furthermore, without it there would be no flours, and without flours we would not be able to create such delicious cakes.