My favorite crop is wheat. Not only because it is one of the prettiest to me, but also because of what it produces. Without wheat, Olive Garden would be obsolete. Poof! Say good-bye to pasta and breadsticks. It is a very sad picture, no doubt. So, not only is it a picturesque crop, but it is also responsible for some pretty yummy things.
All around my house, they have begun to harvest the dried wheat. Many farmers burn the fields after the grain has been harvested to improve the soil. Wheat is pretty popular in America as it is the primary grain used in US grain products. It is grown in 42 states with Kansas ranking at the top, producing enough wheat to make 36 million loaves of bread and enough to everyone in the world for about 2 weeks. That is a ton of amber waves of grain.
Wheat originated in what is now Iraq and was first planted in America (1777) as a hobby crop. Now there are thousands of varieties of wheat that are separated into 6 categories:
- Hard Red Winter (HRW)
- Hard Red Spring (HRS)
- Soft Red Winter (SRW)
- Hard White (HW)
- Soft White (SW)
The different types of wheat have special qualities. The red wheats have a distinctive flavor–nutty or earthy. The white wheats are sweeter. The harder wheats are great for pizza doughs, soft rolls and croissants even though they are harder to grind. although the soft red winter are easier to grind, they have lower protein levels than their harder red counterparts. Often times, wheat is mixed into a unique blend to create the perfect flour that has the protein, flavor, and softness or hardness that is desired for whatever it is being made into. Cakes and pastries are made from the soft white as this wheat is the sweetest variety. Durum wheat is the hardest wheat and is used for the highest quality pastas and noodles. Italy uses only durum wheat. It is also has some of the highest protein. The different wheats are more commonly grown in various areas (e.g. Hard red winter is popular in Kansas and hard red spring is often grown in northern states towards Canada).
- A bushel of wheat weighs around 60 pounds
- A bushel of wheat produces roughly 42 pounds of white flour and 60 pounds of whole-wheat flour
- There are more than 600 pasta shapes in the world
- Traditional tortillas used ground corn. Flour tortillas were not introduced until the 19th century
- A bushel of wheat makes about 210 servings of spaghetti
- One bushel of wheat contains approximately one million individual kernels.
- One acre of wheat produces 40 bushels of wheat
- Wheat is a member of the grass family.
I don’t know about you, but all this talk of bread and pasta has got me hungry. Bring on the carbs!