A brief history
Rye originated in Asia Minor, in what is now Turkey. Rye was known to the Ancient Greeks and Romans, but was not cultivated to any great extent by them.
In the Nordic region, rye has been cultivated for over 1,000 years. Rye was tolerant to cold and sown in the autumn, which meant it was suited to the dry springs of central Sweden and was the first crop in slash and burn agriculture. By the mid 19th Century, rye made up one third of all cultivated grain. Rye was an important crop for the working population and a crucial part of the basic diet in those days, used to make rye bread and rye gruel, for instance.
Rye differs from other types of grain in that it is a cross pollinator and is recognised by its open blossom. When the rye blossom releases its pollen, this can be seen as a mist over the shoots, which can look like a wave of smoke.