QK-77 is a type of wheat marketed by Kamut International, USA, and Kamut Enterprises of Europe, under the trademark Kamut. Its official cultivar name is QK-77, and it is a protected variety registered with the Plant Variety Protection Office of the USDA under Plant Variety Protection Certificate 8900108.
Kamut's botanical identification is uncertain. According to Kamut International, Kamut is a form of Triticum turanicum (also known as T. turgidum subsp. turanicum), Khorasan wheat . It has also been identified as durum wheat, T. durum. Identifications sometimes seen as T. polonicum are incorrect as Kamut, although long-grained, lacks the long glumes of this species. If truly of Egyptian origin, Kamut is more likely to be T. durum, as T. turanicum is only known from Iran. Recent genetic evidence from DNA fingerprinting suggests that Kamut is perhaps derived from a natural hybrid between T. durum and T. polonicum, which would explain past difficulties in arriving at a certain classification.
Early marketing literature (still referred to on some websites) and the USDA documentation for this variety claimed that Kamut was descended from a handful of grain found in a stone box in a tomb near Dashare, Egypt in the 1940s . However, this cannot be the case, as ancient Egyptians grew only emmer wheat, and the maximum viability of wheat (unless frozen) is 200 years. Current literature still features Egyptian motifs, but refers to the more plausible view that Kamut is a current-day landrace from Egypt.
Kamut was registered as a plant variety in 1990 by T. Mack Quinn, and his son Bob Quinn, of Big Sandy, Montana. Production and marketing of Kamut takes place under strict licensing conditions from Kamut International. It is grown as an organic crop, with typical yields of 0.8-1.2 tonnes/ha.
QK-77 has a large grain similar to that of durum wheat, and requires up to one hour of simmering to soften. It is an ideal ingredient for use with slow cookers. Kamut-based products include Kamut drink, bread, breakfast cereals and cracked wheat. They are usually marketed through health-food shops.
There is anecdotal evidence that some people who have wheat allergy, and thus avoid wheat, are able to eat Kamut. However, as a wheat species, it is definitely unsuitable for those with coeliac disease.
- Kamut International
- Walton Feed Kamut Page.
- Sacks, Gordon (2005). "Kamut: A New Old Grain". Gastronomica 5 (4): 95-98. http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/abs/10.1525/gfc.2005.5.4.95.
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- Kamut - history, marketing and etymology
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