View random article

What Is Wheat?

Wheat is a kind of grain and is considered one of the top three most important and abundant crops in the world. For nearly 10,000 years people have planted and harvested wheat, and made it into one of the main staples of their diet. Historians believe wheat was first grown in the Fertile Crescent, where it grew in abundance. Today wheat is often turned into flour, where it is used in baking.

A field of growing wheat is a striking sight. It grows to as high as four meters, with its long and think stalk ending in a little “sceptre” of tightly clustered kernels surrounded by sharp, golden spikes. Wheat is considered an annual plant so farmers must clear the wheat fields at the end of the year and then plow the soil to prepare it for the next batch of wheat.

Today’s wheat is actually the result of careful cultivation. The first wheat kernels were actually smaller, but by pollinating different plants and combining different seeds farmers were able to create bigger, fatter kernels that were more nutritious and gave a better yield.

There are two kinds of wheat. Winter wheat is actually planted in late year, towards autumn. It is then harvested in the summer. Spring wheat on the other is planted as soon as the risk for frost has ended. It is also harvested in the summer. Farmers know that a crop of wheat is ready for harvest when the stalk actually starts to bow down from the weight of the mature grain. The stalks also turn golden.

Farmers cut down the wheat and then separate the stalks from the chaff. The stalks are not discarded, however; instead it is used as construction material or as stable bedding.

Featured in Health