Unlike many other grains, nutty-sweet triticale (pronounced tri-ti-KAY-lee) does not have a history that covers several millennia. It was developed in 1875, when a Scottish botanist crossed wheat with rye in hopes of creating a grain with the good baking qualities and high yield of wheat and the robust growing habit and protein content of rye.
The few seeds he was able to germinate from the hybrid were sterile, but in 1937, a French researcher succeeded in producing a fertile cross of wheat and rye. Subsequent research beginning in the 1950s led to great improvements in the new grain, called “triticale” after the Latin genus names for wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale). Triticale is not grown in great quantities in the United States, and therefore is more likely to be found in health-food stores or through mail-order sources.
Triticale is a specialized high-fiber, high-protein grain that is also a good source of thiamin and minerals.
For a full list of nutrients, see Triticale in the National Nutrient Database.
Types of triticale
Triticale comes in the same forms as wheat or rye. All of the forms can be found in health-food stores.
Cracked triticale: This has a shorter cooking time than the whole berries. You can make your own cracked triticale by processing the whole berries in a blender until they are coarsely chopped.
Flakes (rolled triticale): Like rolled oats, these are triticale berries that have been steamed and flattened.
Triticale flour: A hybrid of wheat and rye, triticale is higher in gluten than other nonwheat flours but still needs to be combined with a wheat flower to produce a satisfying texture in baked goods. It’s a close relative of wheat, so should not be eaten by people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Triticale berries: Like wheat berries, whole triticale berries have not been stripped of their nutritious bran and germ. They are twice the size of wheat berries and need to be soaked overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.
How to buy the best triticale
As with any grain product, buy triticale in well-wrapped packages. If purchasing in bulk, buy from a store with good turnover. Buy what you will use in a couple of months, but for no longer.
How to store triticale at home
To prevent bug infestation, store triticale in a tightly sealed container. In summer and warm weather, store the container in the refrigerator or freezer if you have room.
3 triticale recipe ideas
- Use triticale in place of Arborio rice for a triticale risotto.
- Mix cooked triticale with nuts, dried cherries, scallions, olive oil, and lemon juice for a triticale salad.
- Pair triticale with smoked fish and artichokes.