Sideline the spuds, remove the rice. Spelt is your new go to grain and Sharpham Park Spelt is just about the best you can buy.
But when we do so we’re basically eating foreign food and there’s a delicious, healthy, grain alternative that’s been grown in the UK since the Bronze and Iron ages. Carbonised grains of spelt have actually been found in Somerset,
These facts come in the introduction to Spelt. The cookbook by Roger Saul and he should know. His Somerset farm, Sharpham Park, grows organic spelt a business he created after great success in fashion design founding the Mulberry Brand. Spelt is ideal for organic farming as its tough husk protects it from disease-carrying insects, a form of armour plating that means farmers don’t need to use pesticides. The husk only comes off when the farm stone mills for flour it so the kernel also remains fresher for longer.
It’s a whole grain then and is less bloaty than wheat for good scientific reasons, is high in fibre, provides slow release energy and has plenty of protein. It does however still contain gluten, so beware if you have an intolerance. That said, anecdotal evidence suggests sufferers can eat spelt bread with little or no problem compared to bread made with wheat.
The reason is that Pearled Spelt has had the husk removed by special machines, this really speeds up the cooking but it does add to the production costs and is one of the reasons so many farmers prefer to grow wheat.
Once cooked spelt resembles barley in looks with juicy, plump grains, and it has a nutty, caramel, sweetness that is really rather addictive.
The book is quite a treasure trove of ideas for using spelt, not just for mains but for cakes, cookies and breads too, the latter of course using spelt flour which also makes wraps and there’s a recipe for a delicious sounding feta and jalapeno cornbread,
You can make pizzas with spelt flour and even pasta. Basically where a recipe calls for flour use spelt flour and when it says rice, use spelt.
Spelt in fact makes very good risotto as you don’t need to stand over it for twenty minutes adding stock slowly as you do with arborio rice, the spelt can take it in great gulps.
If you’re looking to lose wheat, potatoes and rice in your diet, or at least to cut down, spelt is your friend. And with the cookbook, you won’t find yourself bored either.
Buy the book on Amazon and Sharpham Park Spelt is available in most supermarkets