Wheat is a type of grass that is grown on the cultivated lands. The highly nutritious seeds of this wheatgrass is a cereal grain which is used as a food staple around the world.
The most common wheat, Triticum, originates from several species of wheat joining together. Triticum wheat is divided into aestivum, durum, and compactum. Triticum aestivum, is mostly used in making bread. Triticum durum, is used to make pasta. Tritirum compactum, is a more cushiony type of wheat and it is used to make cookies, crackers, and pastries.
History of Wheat
Wheat is known to be the most ancient and significant crop among all cereal crops. Wheat was one of the first grains to be cultivated. Historical records indicate its presence 10,000-11,000 years ago somewhere in the Middle East, possibly present-day Turkey. Since there has never been a properly documented time period of wheat cultivation, it is assumed that it was in the Neolithic era (10,000 BC) when wheat cultivation began, along with the cultivation of other agricultural crops.
By 4,000 BC, wheat, along with rice, had become a significant part of the food staple in the world. However, rice was predominant in East Asia, whereas wheat was dominant in Europe, Middle East, and western Asia.
Wheat production soared during the second half of the 20th century. The production of wheat reached an all-time high, of 592 million tons, in the year 1990. This was the last known surge of wheat production, as compared to 1986 when it was 529 million tons. In the past few years, the developing countries have been credited with producing more than 45 percent of the world’s wheat. Countries like China, India, Russia, USA and Pakistan have come out on top in the production of the wheat crop.
Wheat as the food staple
Because of its high nutritional value, and the ability to be mass produced, wheat is the main food staple in most parts of the world. It is known to supply around 20 percent of the world’s food calories. India, Pakistan, Russia, USA, and most of Middle Eastern and European countries are heavy consumers of wheat. Wheat is used to make various types of breads, breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies and pastries.
The nutritional makeup of the grain of wheat is slightly different, depending on the climate of the place it is growing in and its soil. Generally, the seed consists of 70 percent carbohydrates, 2 percent fat, 1.8 percent minerals, 12 percent water, 12 percent protein, and 2.2 percent unrefined fibers.
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