Wheat Berries

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

wheat berries are the raw kernels of the cereal plant wheat. Native to Anatolia and the Fertile Crescent, wheat was first domesticated in Neolithic times. Since then it has been a staple nourishment as well as a symbol of fertility, prosperity, birth, and rebirth for cultures throughout the world. As the cultivation of wheat spread, so did its cultural significance. Because wheat has long been associated with deities, it is not surprising that both the early Christian and Islamic traditions in Anatolia adopted it. See christianity and islam. In earlier cultures the Greek goddess Demeter is depicted with a wheat stalk in hand, as are many other fertility goddesses, including Hittite Kubaba and Roman Ceres, the mother of agriculture and of all grain crops.