From The Ground Up

Learn about the science of wheat and barley, and how they can play an important role in a healthy diet, and check out the Wheat and Barley Glossary.

One in five Montana workers is employed in agriculture or a related field. Montana ranks first nationally in the production of certified organic wheat, and third in the production of all wheat and barley. The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee works to ensure Montana's future in the wheat and barley industry. The committee is grower-funded and grower-controlled through a representative board of directors.


Sometimes called the wheat berry, the kernel is the seed from which the wheat plant grows. The kernel of wheat is a storehouse of nutrients needed and used by humans.


Wheat flour is the most important ingredient in home baking and is the framework for almost every commercially baked product and pasta. Of the grains available for the production of flour, wheat is unique.


Barley malt is an important ingredient for beer production. It is also used in extracts and syrups for adding flavor, color or sweetness to commercially prepared foods such as cereals, baked goods, confections and beverages.


When it comes to bread, what is the difference between enriched, whole grain and wheat? Plus find links to many great wheat and barley recipes.

Wheat and Barley Glossary

Bran: The outer coating of the wheat kernel.

Calorie: The energy value of food. Protein and carbohydrates have the same energy value weight for weight, about four calories per gram. Fat has nine calories per gram.

Carbohydrates: A compound chain of glucose (sugar). Simple carbohydrates are sugars such as white sugar; honey and molasses and complex carbohydrates are primarily starches - bread and pasta.

Cereal: Any edible grain that comes from certain grasses, such as wheat.

Diet: The foods a person usually eats; food considered in terms of its qualities, composition and effect on health.

Dietary Fiber: Indigestible material. Insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran and whole grains, passes through the digestive system quickly. This promotes regularity and helps reduce the risk of colon irregularities or diverticulosis, a type of colon disease. Research shows foods containing insoluble fiber may also help reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer when part of a low-fat diet. Soluble fiber is found in oats, beans, some fruits and vegetables, white bread, rolls, pasta and bagels. Studies indicate foods containing soluble fiber may help decrease cholesterol levels, help reduce the risk of heart disease and help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Endosperm: The substance within a seed that nourishes a plant embryo. The part of the wheat kernel that yields white flour and provides the gluten essential for bread making.

Enrichment: The addition of specific amounts of iron, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin to white flour in amounts equal to, or exceeding, what is naturally found in whole wheat flour. Calcium is an optional mineral.

Fat: Fatty acids are essential in moderation for good health. Examples are: lard, vegetable oils and shortenings, butter and margarine.

Germ: The embryo of the wheat kernel that will develop into a wheat plant.

Gram: The unit of weight in the metric system. There are 24.8 grams in one ounce. (A paper clip weighs about one gram).

Gluten: A protein substance left in the endosperm after the starch has been removed. Provides the cell structure in baked products, especially yeast bread products.

Mineral: A natural substance that is neither plant nor animal and has a definite physical and chemical make-up, such as iron. Minerals occur naturally in food and are necessary for good health.

Nutrient: Food nutrients are the same substances found to make up living tissues - proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water.

Protein: One of the substances containing nitrogen necessary for tissue growth and maintenance of the cells of animals and plants. Protein is made of amino acids.

Vitamin: Organic substances occurring naturally in plant and animal tissues; required for the normal growth and proper nourishment of the body.

Download the glossary list (pdf format).