Durum Wheat

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Durum wheat, T. turgidum durum, is the most important of the tetraploid wheats. It arose in the Near East and spread to the Mediterranean before Roman times, when it was one of two major wheats. Emmer was better suited to humid climates and had a starchy grain, while durum was better suited to semiarid conditions and had a glassy grain. Both were used to make breads leavened and unleavened, bulgur, couscous, injera, and other preparations. Southern and central Italy is now the main producer in Europe; India, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, and the United States and Canada are large producers elsewhere.