Wheat is responsible for the largest group
of foods of plant origin. It is the staple cereal of Europe and
Like all grains known as cereals, wheat
belongs to the Gramineae family - along with rice, barley, corn and
Wheat has probably been cultivated
since prehistoric times, and is thought to have originated on the
Eurasian continent. Today, wheat is grown practically everywhere
apart from the coldest regions and the very hot tropical
Depending on the consistence of the grain, the hard
"durum" wheats are used to make pasta, while the "soft" wheats are
used in bread making. Although rye, barley and corn are used in
some areas for bread, the gluten in wheat gives it an elastic
quality which allows the bread to rise.
Wheat is a good source of carbohydrates and
minerals such as magnesium and potassium. It also contains some
lipids and cellulose.
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Bianchini, F; Corbetta, F; et al.
The Complete Book of Fruits and Vegetables
[English Translation] (New York: Crown, 1976)