Durum is a type of wheat that is very dense and high in protein. It is often considered to be one of the most nutritionally significant forms of wheat. Durum in Latin means "hard”, and the species is the hardest of all wheat. Its high protein content, as well as its strength, make durum good for special uses, the most well-known being pasta. Pasta made from durum is firm with consistent cooking quality. Also unique to durum is its yellow endosperm, which gives pasta its golden hue.
Durum thrives in a climate characterized by cool summer nights, long warm days, adequate but not excessive rainfalls and a dry harvest. Durum is planted between mid-April and the end of May, and harvested in August or September. The domestic market accounts for two-thirds of demand for U.S. durum. About 20 countries purchase U.S. durum and Europe is the single largest importer of U.S. durum, followed by African and Middle East markets, and Latin and South America.
Approximately 80 percent of the nation's nearly 100 million bushels of durum wheat is grown in North Dakota. One 60-pound bushel makes about 42 pounds of pasta or roughly 210 servings of spaghetti.
2017 Hard Red Spring Wheat & Durum Crop Overviews, Jim Peterson, ND Wheat Commission, Crop Outlook & International Durum Forum, November 2017.