Kamut, all you need to know – Italian Cuisine

Kamut, all you need to know


The scientific name sounds like "Triticum turgidum ssp. Turanicum", it is commonly called Khorasan, but to understand what we are talking about we must say Kamut. In other words, the name of the trademark registered by the American company must be used Kamut to market this particular type of grain described scientifically for the first time in 1921 in the Iranian region of Khorasan: the exact wording is therefore Kamut®. The brand guarantees the origin from organic farming of a grain that has never been hybridized or crossed.

Egyptian origins and American brand
The history of Kamut® begins in 1949, when the American aviator Earl Dedman, stationed in Portugal, received some beans of wheat unusually shaped by a friend who said he had found them in an ancient Egyptian tomb. Dedman, instead of throwing them away, sent them to his father, who was a farmer in Fort Benton, Montana; the latter, in a few years, succeeded in cultivating 40 tons of it and gave the unprecedented production the name "Grano del Re Tut". In Turkey, farmers call it "Camel's tooth" because of its shape or "Grain of the Prophet", referring to another local legend according to which Noé brought this grain with him on the ark.

But the real turning point came just thirty years ago, in 1986, when Bob Quinn, another American farmer, with the help of his father Mack, was able to present this variety of wheat at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, in California. At that point it was called "Kamut" and, precisely with this name that in the language of the ancient Egyptians means "wheat", it was registered in 1990. Since then, with a constant progression, it has gained the consent of many consumers all over the world and the interest of scholars who study its effects on the human organism.

Kamut® and health
If, in addition to this curious and exotic story, Kamut® has an interesting present, it also owes it to a series of beneficial properties for the health that for some years I have been studying scientists. In 2014, the results of three important scientific studies conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Florence in collaboration with the Careggi University Hospital of the Tuscan capital were disseminated.

From the research, which has compared the properties of this "ancient grain" with those of the "modern grain", interesting indications emerge on the effects regarding the risk factors cardiovascular and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

As for cardiovascular risk factors, the regular consumption of Khorasan-based products reduces the cholesterol total of 4%, Ldl cholesterol of 7.8% and glycaemia of 4%. In the case of irritable bowel syndrome, improvement in symptoms such as abdominal pain, swelling and fatigue has been shown. Results that did not occur with products based on "modern wheat".

Rich in proteins and minerals
In addition to its beneficial properties on cardiovascular risk factors and irritable bowel syndrome, this cereal has a high protein and mineral content. It is rich in selenium and zinc and has a greater amount of potassium and magnesium than "modern wheat".

It appears that the bread prepared with Kamut® contains quantities of selenium ten times higher than that prepared with whole wheat flour; in addition, it also contains a quantity of Vitamin E which can be up to 30% more than that of bread made with common flour.

3 daily portions of food prepared with flour obtained from this cereal are enough to reach the recommended daily intake of selenium. In other words, a diet that favors a similar grain acts effectively against the formation of free radicals and has a strong power Anti-aging.

According to a study by British researchers published by the scientific journal "British Journal of Nutrition", a diet rich in Khorosan wheat increases activity inflammatory in the body compared to a modern wheat based diet. Given that this cereal is not recommended for people with obvious problems with celiac disease, why contains gluten, we are studying the effects on people who have a gluten sensitivity of non-celiac origin, which in many cases are able to eat KAMUT®-based products without discomfort.

How to use it in the kitchen
At the table, this type of wheat is naturally perfect for dishes based on Middle Eastern traditions and cultures. But the resulting flour gives excellent proof also in all the recipes where it can replace the common "modern" wheat flour. Pasta, Pizza and focaccia are valid examples, like all other baked, salted and sweet products.

Also try the beans: excellent, for example, if they are boiled instead of rice; in this case it is only a matter of having the patience to keep them soaking for about 8 hours before cooking them. Recently, a "milk" obtained by squeezing this cereal, as an alternative to the more famous soybean, for those suffering from lactose intolerance has also been put on the market.

There is also an Italian version
In addition to its origin, its commercial nature and the beneficial effects on health, to get a precise idea of ​​this type of wheat, one must also know other aspects. Kamut® is called "ancient grain" because it has not undergone the selections that have made the so-called "modern" more productive. There is a disciplinary very rigid to ensure that during cultivation it remains pure and unique according to the rules of organic farming and farmers are supported to increase biodiversity in crops. In order to protect the heritage of a high quality ancient grain, the project has become a positive model of development and the use of the KAMUT® brand along the supply chain has always been granted with a free license.

Today it is grown mainly in the northern United States and Canada, but is also found in its area of ​​origin, Khorasan. In Italy, currently, the authorized importers, which provide about a thousand companies in the country, there are eleven.

Alessandro Gnocchi
22 June 2015

updated from Mariacristina Coppeto
June 2019

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