The germ of the wheat plant is among the most nutritious plant food products in existence. Wheat germ makes up only 2.5 per cent of a wheat stalk and is composed of the germ's embryo and scutellum. Along with wheat bran, the germ contains a great deal of the wheat plan's vitamin content, including 28 different vitamins and minerals. It is a particularly rich source of thiamine, vitamin E and riboflavin. Production of wheat germ involves removing the embryonic germ from the rest of the wheat plant.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Unprocessed whole wheat stalks
- Horizontal wheat scourer
Place the wheat stalks in a container that is watertight and large enough to house the stalks in their entirety.
Stir water into the container to increase the wheat plant's moisture content to about 13.5 per cent of its weight. Adding water helps improve the natural clefts that exist between the wheat stalk and the wheat germ, thus allowing for easier separation of germ from stalk.
Allow the wheat to soak in water for 6 to 15 hours.
Scour the moisturised wheat with a horizontal scouring device. This is a standard commercial device that uses a rotor to separate the wheat germ from the sides of the wheat stalk. A device with a rotor speed of 18 to 25 metres (59 to 82 feet) per second provides optimal separation and avoids breaking the germ. If you have an adjustable scourer then you should ideally set its rotor speed to 21.2 metres (69 1/2 feet) per second. This process will collect between 54 per cent and 91 per cent of available wheat germ, depending on the variety of wheat.
Soak the remaining wheat stalk in a second time. You should increase the moisture content to about 15.5 per cent for soft white wheat, 16 per cent for red winter wheat and 17 per cent for durum wheat.
Scour the wheat stalks for a second time to remove additional wheat germ from the stalks.
Tips and warnings
- Be sure to use your wheat germ soon after harvest. Due to the high fatty acid and nutritional content of wheat germ it is subject to rapid decomposition and is only helped minimally by refrigeration.
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