Wheat Germ


Wheat germ is the inner embryo of the wheat kernel that is separated before milling for use as a cereal and food supplement. Wheat germ contains very high levels of vitamins and minerals and is considered to be the most nutritious part of the kernel.

Wheat germ is readily available and is often used as a cereal or added to foods such as yogurt for added nutritional value. It has a desirable nutty flavor, and as it is high in fat is also used to make wheat germ oil.


Other names: cereal
Translations: Kviešu dīgļi, Kviečio grūdo gemalas, Germeni de grau, Pšenične klice, Mầm lúa mì, Tarwekiemen, गेहूं बीज, Gérmen de Trigo, Зародыши пшеницы, Σιτάρι Germ, جرثومة القمح, 밀 세균, Z pšeničných klíčků, Lembaga Gandum, Wheat mikrobyo, 小麦胚芽, Germen de Blat, Pšenica Germ, Z pšeničných klíčkov, Germe di Grano, נבט חיטה, Vetegroddar, Пшеничне клице, 小麦胚芽, Germe de Blé, Weizenkeimöl, Hvedekim, Germen de Trigo, Зародки пшениці, Vehnänalkiot, Пшеничен зародиш

Physical Description

Wheat germ is a part of the wheat kernel. The germ is only a very small part of the kernel, approximately 2 ½ percent in total. The word germ does not have anything to do with bacteria; it simply refers to germination. The germ is the reproductive part that germinates and forms the wheat grass.

Colors: white or red

Tasting Notes

Flavors: wheat
Mouthfeel: Grainy, Dry, Flaky
Food complements: Nuts, Coconut, Cacao
Beverage complements: Milk, Tea
Substitutes: Wheat bran (in baking), Ground sunflower seeds (to add protein to bread)

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Look for wheat germ that is packaged in sealed containers (especially those that are vacuum packaged) as they will be more protected from potential oxidation and rancidity.
Buying: You can buy wheat germ from all good health stores and many supermarkets will carry it as well. It can either be purchased in toasted or fresh form. There are also many food products that already contain wheat germ. A number of cereals are made with it, as well as bread and flour.

Preparation and Use

If you make your own bread or cakes you can easily add wheat germ when baking by using it instead of a small amount of flour. You will find that it has a sweet, almost nutty flavor that is not too overpowering. It can also be added to meat dishes, eggs, vegetables and even yogurt.

Conserving and Storing

Wheat berries should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place. The optimal way to store wheat products such as flour, bulgur, bran and germ is in an airtight container in the refrigerator as the cooler temperature will help to prevent them from becoming rancid.


History: Wheat is an ancient grain. Thought to have originated in southwestern Asia, it has been consumed as a food for more than 12,000 years. As it was looked upon as the Staff of Life, it played an important role of religious significance and was part of the sacred rituals of many cultures. Greek, Roman, Sumerian and Finnish mythology had gods and goddesses of wheat. This exceptionally nutritious grain is still considered to be sacred in some areas of China.



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