What is it? Spelt is a sub-species of wheat thought to have originated thousands of years ago in what is present-day Iran or in the south-eastern region of Europe. Spelt spread throughout the world and served as a staple grain for many years. Spelt's tough but nutrient-rich husk proved to be too hard to crack for modern farming and fell out of favour for awhile. But its versatility and nutritional benefits have put it back on market shelves. You may spot it labelled with different names, including farro and dinkel.

What is it good for? Like other whole grains, a meal containing fibre-filled spelt will leave you feeling full and satisfied without piling on too many calories. In fact, a 100-gram serving of spelt has only 127 calories, one gram of fat, and zero cholesterol. That same serving will also provide you with 11% of the protein you need for the day. Spelt is also a moderate source of several minerals and vitamins, including niacin, iron, magnesium, and selenium. Since it is a variety of wheat, spelt is not a safe choice for those following a gluten-free diet.

What does it taste like? Spelt's nutty flavour makes it a natural choice in homemade breads and pastas, but it can be eaten in a number of ways. Use spelt flour to make muffins or in other hearty baked goods. The hulled whole-grain spelt berries can be boiled and used as a substitute for rice or quinoa. Prepare rolled spelt or spelt flakes the same way you would oatmeal or porridge for a filling hot breakfast cereal. Store spelt flour in the refrigerator. Other types of spelt should be kept in an airtight container stowed in a cool, dry, dark place.

Amy Toffelmire