Millet – The Grain with Tradition

Millet belongs to one of the oldest grain varieties in the world. Its first recorded use as a food product dates back as far as 8,000 years ago, when it was commonly used in the production of unleavened flatbread in almost every continent, from Asia to Europe. Millet is in fact the umbrella term for ten to twelve different types of plants. The grain can be divided into two main groups – the sorghum and millet, which has distinctly smaller grains.

Food Facts Food Facts

Millet

Class

millet

Calories

360 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

68.8g carbohydrate, 3.8g fibre, 3.9g fat, 9.8g protein per 100g

Season

available year-round

Storage

store in an airtight container in a dry, dark place at room temperature

Shelf life

several years if stored correctly

Millet – Gluten-Free and Healthy

The popularity of this ancient grain decreased for quite some time – at least in terms of human consumption – while other grains such as wheat took over. Over recent years, it has become increasingly popular and this is largely due to its gluten-free properties. It is therefore well suited to those suffering with coeliac disease, i.e. those who cannot tolerate gluten. Millet is the second most nutritious grain after oats. It is rich in pantothenic acid, which aids energy metabolism and prevents fatigue. The small yellow grains also contain zinc, which helps support the immune system. Today, the largest proportion of millet production still goes towards livestock feed.

Millet – A Classic Breakfast

Millet can be found in many baked goods and cereal products. The grain can be purchased in its natural form, which contains the most nutrients but requires a longer cooking time. Millet flakes on the other hand are far easier to prepare, along with pearl millet or hulled millet seed. Millet porridge is commonly made from such forms of millet and is a popular and tasty breakfast that keeps you feeling fuller for longer. To make it at home, simply cook 50 grams of millet flakes in 200 millilitres of water, milk or a plant-based alternative such as almond milk. When the liquid is fully absorbed, sweeten the porridge to taste and finish with a topping of your choice, such as nuts or fruit.

Millet – Cooking and Combining

If stored correctly, millet can keep almost indefinitely. Although easy to prepare, there are a few things to keep in mind when cooking millet. The grain should not be eaten raw as it contains certain enzymes that may damage the body’s proteins. Additionally, the grain has a high amount of phytic acid, which can reduce the body’s ability to absorb the various vitamins and nutrients. To remove some of the phytic acid, soak the millet in water for one to two hours and use fresh water when cooking.

Aside from a tasty millet porridge, the grain also makes an excellent and filling addition to a salad or a casserole. Its mild flavour suits Mediterranean or Middle Eastern spices and ingredients such as cinnamon, cardamom, chilli, curry, raisins and chickpeas. Millet can also be used as a pizza base or to make gnocchi. It can replace semolina or flour and therefore create a gluten-free alternative.

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