Why are einkorn and emmer often mentioned in the same context?
They are both super old! And because they are family. Emmer is a cross between einkorn and wild grasses from its home turf in Northern Africa.
In latin, where Einkorn = Triticum Monococcum, and Emmer = Triticum Dicoccum.
Technically, there is more depth to the forebears of emmer, as it originated as a wild grass. Emmer as we know it today is a domesticated version.
Why is emmer a bit off the radar?
Because modern varieties stole the limelight, since they are less labor intensive. Durum, for example, an offshoot of emmer. Durum is much more popular these days thanks to its looser hulls that come off easily during harvest.
You may have heard of Farro though, which is emmer! Farro Medio, to be precise. Oftentimes, einkorn or spelt may be labelled as Farro.
In Italian, Farro piccolo = Einkorn, Farro Medio = Emmer, Farro Grande = Spelt.
Does emmer contain gluten?
Yes, but less (gliadins) than modern wheat.
What else is special about emmer?
Emmer is a resilient crop that grows well in stressful conditions.
It has a deep, nutty, and sweet caramel taste. It is high in protein compared to wheat, but lower elasticity which is great for pasta making!
Also, emmer is high in fiber, antioxidants and other minerals, and has a low glycemic index.