No, spelt is not gluten-free. Spelt is a gluten-containing grain closely related to wheat, so it is unsafe for anyone with celiac disease.
Spelt (sometimes called hulled wheat or dinkel wheat) is actually a hybrid of two species of wheat. It has a higher gluten content than traditional wheat. It used to be more common because it has a husk, so it does better in colder climates than traditional wheat does.
Spelt can be used as a substitute for rice, potatoes and wheat, and it is frequently used in risottos, breads, stews and broths. In some areas of Central Europe spelt is used to brew beer and vodka. In some regions of Europe people also eat dried, unripe spelt, called “green grain” or grünkern, as a snack.
Spelt is often called an ancient grain, and for good reason—archaeologists have found spelt from 6,000 to 7,000 years ago near the Black Sea! While it has fallen out of popularity in the last few centuries, spelt has received renewed interest in recent years.
Regardless of its benefits, spelt is not safe to eat for anyone with celiac disease. If you have a wheat allergy, celiac disease, or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, avoid anything made with spelt.
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