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10 Fun Facts About Wheat
10 Fun Facts about Wheat
1. There are three main parts of the wheat kernel: the endosperm, the bran and the germ. The endosperm makes up about 83% of the kernel, and is the source of white flour. Bran is the outer coat of the kernel, making up about 14%, and is an excellent source of fiber. The germ is the smallest part of the kernel—only about 2.5%. It is the embryo or “sprouting” section of the kernel. Germ is usually separated from the other parts of the wheat kernel because it contains fat that limits the ability of flours to keep for a longer period of time.
3. In 2016, world-wide production of wheat was over 825 million US tons or 27,488,300,000 bushels of wheat! If you put all that wheat in school buses and lined them up end to end, they would wrap around the Earth’s equator almost 10 times!
4. There are many, many varieties of wheat, but there are six classes of wheat produced in the United States. They are:
- Durum (used to make pasta and bulghur)
- Hard Red Spring (used for bread and hard baked goods)
- Hard Red Winter (used for bread and hard baked goods)
- Soft Red Winter (used for cakes, pie crusts, biscuits and muffins)
- Hard White (used for bread and brewing)
- Soft White (used for pie crusts and pastries)
5. Kansas is the number one state in wheat production in the US, which is why it’s unofficially called The “Wheat State” and the “Bread Bowl of the US.”
6. Kansas produces enough wheat each year to bake 36 billion loaves of bread. That’s enough to feed everyone in the world (nearly 7 billion people), for about two weeks.
7. Harvesting a wheat field is comprised of three parts—reaping, threshing and winnowing. Before the days of modern technology, these processes were all separate, making the harvest of wheat a very time-consuming task. The combine was invented in the US by Hiram Moore in 1834. This machine combined the three processes of wheat harvest, cutting down on the time needed to complete the harvest.
8. Wheat is used in making pasta too! One bushel of wheat makes about 42 pounds of pasta, or 210 servings of spaghetti. Eating one serving of spaghetti each week, this would serve a family of four for a whole year!
9. Speaking of pasta, did you know that there are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide?? That’s a lot of shapes!
10. The Roman goddess Ceres was believed to be the goddess of agriculture and grain crops. It is from her name that we get the word “cereal”—appropriate, considering most cereals contain some sort of grain!