Rye

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Secale fragile M.Bieb.

Rye (Secale cereale) is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe (Triticeae) and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskies, some vodkas, and animal fodder. It can also be eaten whole, either as boiled rye berries, or by being rolled, similar to rolled oats.

Rye is a cereal grain and should not be confused with ryegrass, which is used for lawns, pasture, and hay for livestock.

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History

Rye is one of a number of species that grow wild in central and eastern Turkey, and adjacent areas. Domesticated rye occurs in small quantities at a number of Neolithic sites in Turkey, such as PPNB Can Hasan III, but is otherwise virtually absent from the archaeological record until the Bronze Age of central Europe, c. 1800-1500 BC.[1] It is possible that rye traveled west from Turkey as a minor admixture in wheat (possibly as a result of Vavilovian mimicry), and was only later cultivated in its own right. Although archeological evidence of this grain has been found in Roman contexts along the Rhine, Danube, and in the British Isles,[citation needed] Pliny the Elder was dismissive of rye, writing that it "is a very poor food and only serves to avert starvation" and spelt is mixed into it "to mitigate its bitter taste, and even then is most unpleasant to the stomach" (N.H. 18.40).[original research?]

Since the Middle Ages, rye has been widely cultivated in Central and Eastern Europe, and is the main bread cereal in most areas east of the French-German border and north of Hungary.

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