Salamouni wheat

Ark of taste
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Situated along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, Lebanon is the genetic home of various species of wheat, barley, lentils and vetch. Salamouni wheat (Triticum aestivum L. var. Salamouni) is one of Lebanon’s most important land races. Its history and cultivation is centered in the Biqa’, where the original, mother race of salamouni still grows wild in the regions of Ham, Aarsal and Nabha (Tadessem, 2006). Little has been written about the history of salamouni cultivation in Lebanon, but it is believed to date back more than 5,000 years (Pomeranz, 1989). Salamouni wheat is the raw material for local staple foods such as bread, freekeh, and burghul.

Salamouni has tower shaped ears consisting of several levels called spike-lets, where each level has 2-5 flowers, most of which will develop into grains (Pomeranz, 1989). Salamouni comes in two sub-varieties: white (the most common) and red.

White salamouni is a soft, low yielding variety planted under rainfed conditions. It responds poorly to fertilization. In spite of its shortcomings, it is still cultivated locally because in the opinion of local farmers, especially in the Biqa’, it is the best wheat for burghul and kishik production (Jeha, 1993). This characteristic has been demonstrated by research: Olabi’s (1997) comparative study on selected wheat accessions demonstrated that salamouni, among others, possessed superior processing qualities for the preparation of traditional dishes utilizing burghul as their main ingredient.

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Production area:Regions of Ham, Aarsal and Nabha

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Cereals and flours

Nominated by:Convivium Slow Food Beirut