Search for an article

Rediscovering the Ancient Grains, a Treasure for Humanity

Our daily food habits usually include products made with the traditional type 0 or 00 white wheat flour, which is used to make bread, pasta, baked products, desserts and much more things. However, as part of a various and balanced diet that respects the environment and the biodiversity (on the 22nd May we also celebrated its World Wide Day), the attention towards ancient grains is spreading out a lot in the latest days.

Whereas the traditional flour is made out of large scale wheat productions, selected and modified through the years to improve its performances, the ancient grains are long-standing varieties that have always remained authentic and original, which means, they have never had any chemical modification in order to be more efficient.

Those grains represent a true treasure and heritage for the entire humanity. For this reason, some seed banks have been instituted, to preserve the seeds out of the ground to maintain their biodiversity and food safety; those banks are located inside universities, but also regional and national research centers, also in Italy.

In our country, there is a network, called RIBES, that reunites all of the germoplasm to preserve the spontaneous plants. Those institutes are located in 15 different places all over Italy and, besides preserving the seeds, they also aim to diffuse the techniques to harvest and identify the species at risk.

The main characteristics of the ancient grains are:

  1. THEY HAVEN’T BEEN ALTERED and they have never been genetically modified by humans. For this reason, they have lower performances in comparison to the traditional modern wheat.

  2. THEY ARE LESS REFINED because they are usually stone ground.

  3. THEY ARE LESS GLUTINOUS, because they haven’t been modified by humans, and they maintain a more balanced ratio between starch and gluten, so they contain smaller percentages of this protein.

  4. THEY HAVE A SHORT SUPPLY CHAIN: the rediscovery of the ancient grains is mostly thanks to the small farmers that choose to harvest high quality grains, even if it is not always convenient from an economical point of view. When choosing ancient grains, the best advice is to prefer and buy the ones that are typical of that territory, asking the local farmers some useful tips.

  5. THEY PRESERVE THE BIODIVERSITY: purchasing ancient grains means preserving the biodiversity of the territory and of Italy in general. Since the production costs are higher, because of the lower performances, the ancient grains risk to disappear, even if they represent a very important resource for the common wellness and for the health of the environment.

Probios, on its side,  promotes the local agriculture and the smaller realities of the territory. In the pursuit of its commitment towards the environment, recently the company has developed a new line based on ancient grains, made with antique Sicilian varieties (Margherito, Perciasacchi, Russello, Timilia and Maiorca), all rediscovered thanks to the efforts of the “seed keepers”, farmers involved into the safeguard of those grains. The line is made of pasta and flour, and it is made with raw materials harvested and manufactured in Sicily. The manufacturing company in facts deals with the product from the plantation to the production, made by stone grounding the seeds, and the production of the pasta which is bronze wire drawn and dehydrated at low temperatures.

Come with us in Sicily to discover ancient grains, watch the VIDEO!

il fatto alimentare