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What are ancient grains

All you need to know about ancient wheat varieties

What are ancient grains
For ancient grains we mean those varieties before the so-called green revolution that occurred around the middle of the twentieth century. In truth, apart from some exceptions such as monocock spelled, they are varieties of wheat that can not be considered properly old, but the definition has taken the field of communication so much to justify its use.
They are varieties that for the most part of the twentieth century were cultivated in the Italian territory and which were then abandoned in the name of greater profitability and the search for a stronger and tenacious gluten necessary for the industrial production of bread and pasta. They are therefore grains that have not undergone genetic modifications in the laboratory but are the result of natural selection and crossings implemented in the passage of time.
In fact each territory had in practice its variety of wheat that was adapted to the climatic, morphological and hydrogeological characteristics of the territory. This is unlike modern grains that are in fact few varieties grown anywhere with the help of fertilizers, herbicides and irrigation.
How they are grown
Ancient grains require traditional agronomic techniques of which rotation is an important component. The technique foresees that one third of the arable land is cultivated with cereals, a third with legumes of income and a third with green manure varieties that are buried later to improve the composition of the soil and to fertilize it naturally bringing the nutrients necessary for cultivation. of grains.
Weed control is carried out by means of false sowing, a surface treatment of the soil that takes place a couple of times before sowing the grains. This objective is the burial of the weeds emerged in the meantime with the consequent decrease of the same. In addition, the height of the grains acts as a competitor against the weeds, reducing their growth.
Why choose them
As already mentioned, these varieties have not undergone genetic modifications in the laboratory but are the result of natural selection and adaptation of the grains, thus maintaining their characteristics and nutritional values.
In ancient grains gluten is present but it is of a weaker type and therefore more easily digested.
In addition, another advantage is that they are transformed using traditional methods, ground to stone with an intact grain that keeps intact all its nutritional properties, giving rise to unrefined flours. The stone milling, the temperature control in processing and the use of sourdough for bread making allow to keep flavors and flavors very characteristic.
The traditional agronomic techniques favor a slower and more respectful processing of the fields and that decisively improve the soil composition, increasing its permeability with positive consequences on the hydrogeological characteristics of the territory.
Therefore, bringing back into the fields old varieties of wheat means being able to reactivate new production chains, produce quality and sustain the economies of the territories involved by recognizing farmers at a fair price.
The main varieties cultivated in Tuscany, and on the Monna Giovannella farm of Bagno a Ripoli are: Durum wheat of Senatore Cappelli, Wheat tender Verna, Gentil Rosso, Frassineto and Sieve; the monococco spelled, dicocco and Spelta.