Wheat, a plant of the grass family, and the most widely cultivated food crop in the world. It may be grown in a variety of soils and climates, and its excellent storing and shipping qualities make it available to people almost everywhere. Wheat takes second place as a grain food only in eastern Asia, where rice is the leading cereal.
Wheat is ground into flour, which is used in making breads, crackers, noodles, and pastries. Wheat is also used in baby foods, sauces, soups, and candies. Bulgur, a type of cracked wheat that is first parboiled and dried, is prepared and eaten like rice. Wheat is also used in the production of beer, whiskey, starches, industrial alcohols, and some kinds of paper and cardboard. Another important use is as a livestock feed.
One of the earliest crops grown, wheat became a foundation for the great civilizations that grew up in Asia and Egypt thousands of years ago. Wheat is now the most important grain in international commerce.