Interesting Rye Facts:
• Considered a vigorous weed by the Greeks, Rye was tamed and grown as a crop by the Roman’s.
• Rye became a staple throughout Europe by the middle ages – in England the basic loaf was made from rye and barley.
• To this day, Rye has maintained it’s popularity throughout Eastern Europe.
• Rye is a mountain grain that likes light, air and coolness. Strong and robust, resistant to rains and storms and favours sandy, poor soil.
• Rye is often used as a rotation crop as its strong roots help to loosen hard soil.
• Early settlers took rye to America where the Rye whiskey industry is now one of the largest consumers of rye in America
• Linked to Jupiter – the god of light and wisdom who ruled the sun and moon. Important to agriculture,
Jupiter is also the god of wind, rain, thunder and lightening.
• Ergot, a fungus parasite found on cereal crops in the Middle Ages, favoured Rye. When eaten it affects the Central Nervous System, producing hallucinations and trance like states. The active ingredient is Lysergic Acid (LSD). In the middle ages whole villages where inflicted with “Dancing Sickness” (ergotism or St Anthony’s Fire) and danced themselves to death. Sufferers were often taken to be witches, tortured and put to death.
• Rye requires a lot of heat and warmth to digest, but in the overcoming of the grain, benefits can include strengthening of the immune system, increased energy and the potential to overcome allergies.
Cooking with Rye:
• To boil rye, 1 cup uncooked grain to 4 cups water. Boil 50 minutes or 25 mins if presoaked overnight, which also makes it easier to digest.
• Try as Rye Flakes for a hot porridge, cooked rye grain with tamari sauce or use as a rice substitute.
• Rye is suited to sourdough leavening – giving the bread a distinctive sharp flavour and helping to make the rye flour more easily digested. Pumpernickel is the most famous Rye bread.
• Rye, like Barley and Wheat can be grown as a grass for juicing and salads and can also be sprouted.
Rye is the fourth grain of the seven we are looking at, with each grain relating to a different day of the week. When you add the seven grains to the diet, on their corresponding day, you provide the body with a balanced nutritional and energetic influence. This can help support health and harmony in daily life.
Annette Batchelor ND RM BT
Naturopathic Consultations in the Spirit of Anthroposophy, Victoria, Australia