Kamut

Kamut (pronounced ka-moot) is an ancient whole grain that was first cultivated by the Egyptians back in 8,000 B.C. Known for its superior nutritive value, this whole grain contains more protein, fat and selenium, an antioxidant mineral, than common durum wheat. Kamut is quick and easy to prepare and has a sweet, slightly nutty taste. It's a healthy alternative to wheat for people who are sensitive to products made with modern, refined wheat. However, people with intolerance to gluten - a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley - can't consume kamut as it also contains gluten. 

Kamut

Nutrition Notes

Not only is kamut a great source of whole grain carbohydrate, it's also high in protein relative to other grains. One half-cup (125 ml) of cooked kamut provides 140 calories, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fibre and just over 1 gram of fat. The same size serving of whole wheat bulgur provides 170 calories from 36 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fibre and 1 gram of fat.

Kamut is also a great source of selenium, an antioxidant mineral that helps to maintain a healthy immune system and is thought to guard against cancer. Studies suggest that people with high intakes of selenium have also been found to have lower rates of skin, lung, stomach, and esophageal cancers.

The daily requirement for selenium is 55 micrograms for adult men and women. Selenium content varies from brand to brand. Some brands of kamut contain up to 90 micrograms of selenium in one-half cup (125 ml) serving.  

Canada's Food Guide recommends making at least half of your daily grain products whole grain.  Here's the nutrition information for one Food Guide serving (one-half cup or 125 ml) of cooked kamut kernels:

Calories  140 kcal
 Fat  1.1 grams
 Protein  6 grams
 Carb  32 grams
 Fibre 5 grams 
 Selenium 90 micrograms 

Varieties

Kamut, scientifically known as Triticum turgidum, is an ancient relative of durum wheat. The kamut kernel is about twice the size of the average grain of wheat and requires less water to produce the same yield when being cultivated. The low moisture requirement of kamut also deters insects, which means that farmers often grow kamut without the use of pesticides.

Farmers in Southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana and the Western Dakotas supply North America with kamut as whole kernels, or ground into whole grain flour that can be sold on its own or added to food products like breakfast cereals, breads, crackers and pastas.   

Buying

In addition to kamut kernels, kamut can be purchased as whole grain flour, baked goods, hot and cold cereal, pasta, and chips.

Kamut products can be found in natural food stores and some major grocery stores. If buying kamut in bulk, check that the bins are covered and that the store has a good turnover rate to ensure freshness.

Storing

Kamut kernels should be stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place as warm, moist environments may cause the natural oils in the kernels to go rancid.

Products made with kamut - such as pasta and cereal - should be used within three to six months of purchase.

Breads, muffins and other baked goods made with kamut flour should be enjoyed within two days of purchase. Kamut bread can be frozen for up to six months.

Preparing

The quickest way to cook whole grain kamut is to soak the kernels overnight. Then, add three parts water to one part kamut. Bring it to a boil in a large saucepan, then reduce the heat and allow the kamut to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.

If you're not soaking the kernels overnight, use the same ratio of water to grain but allow the kamut simmer for about one hour.

One cup (250 ml) of dry kamut yields four cups (1 L) of cooked kamut.

Eating

Whole grain kamut kernels have a mild nutty flavour. Kamut flour is a nutritious alternative to wheat flour and can be used to make bread, cookies, cakes, muffins and crepes.

Kamut kernels can be cooked pilaf-style, like wild rice, bulgur or couscous.  Cooked kamut kernels also make a delicious addition to salads or soups.

Healthy Ways to Enjoy

Breakfast

Enjoy a bowl of hot whole grain kamut as a high-protein alternative to oatmeal.

Try a slice of toasted whole grain kamut bread with one teaspoon (5 ml) of your favourite nut butter for a high energy breakfast.

Instead of corn flakes, enjoy a bowl of whole grain kamut flakes with skim milk and a piece of fresh fruit for a high-fibre start to your day.

Make pancakes or waffles with whole grain kamut flour as an alternative to wheat flour. Top with blueberries and strawberries for an antioxidant-rich breakfast.

Lunch

Make a colorful whole grain kamut pasta salad with one-half cup (125 ml) of kamut rotini and one-quarter cup (60 ml) each of chopped red pepper, corn and scallions.

Use whole grain kamut bread instead of whole wheat bread for your tuna sandwich for an extra hit of protein.

To add taste and texture to your vegetable soup, stir in one-quarter cup (60 ml) of cooked whole grain kamut kernels.

Sprinkle one-quarter cup (60 ml) of cold, cooked kamut kernels on to your favourite leafy green salad for added whole grain nutrition.

Dinner

Serve an Asian-style vegetable stir-fry over one-half cup (125 ml) of cooked kamut kernels for a high-fibre meal.

Use kamut kernels in your rice pilaf for a tasty whole grain side dish.

Mix one-quarter cup (60 ml) of cooked kamut kernels into your serving of slow-cooked stew for extra protein and antioxidant selenium.

Use kamut kernels instead of whole wheat bulgur in your favourite tabouli recipe.

Make spaghetti and meatballs with whole grain kamut spaghetti as an antioxidant-rich alternative to pasta made with wheat.

Snacks

Enjoy a small, homemade muffin made with whole grain kamut flour for a mid-morning snack.

Enjoy your favourite homemade cookie made with whole grain kamut flour - instead of refined white flour - as an afternoon treat.

Make a chip and dip platter with whole grain kamut chips - instead of tortilla chips - and a bowl of salsa to share with friends at your next get together.

Spread one tablespoon (15 ml) of hummus on a piece of whole grain kamut flatbread and enjoy!

More Information

 

Kamut nutrition - http://www.kamut.com/english/allergy/nutrition-main.htm#522

  

Did you know?

  

Kamut is hardier than wheat and can withstand harsh climates and long periods of drought so long as there is rich soil.

Soil composition changes the amount of selenium in kamut kernels.