Botanical Name: Eragrostis Tef
Teff has been grown and eaten by the ancient Abyssinian population for over five thousand years. Its name is believed to be related to the word “lost”, due to its small size– 3.000 grains only weigh 1 gram, making it one of the smallest grains in the world. However, this tiny grain should not be underestimated, it is packed with flavor and nutritional benefits.
This cereal is one of the most important staple crops used in the diet of modern-day Ethiopia, given its adaptation to lands suffering from droughts and difficult climates. On fields, teff seed colours range from dark red, to golden brown and ivory- the darker the seed, the thicker and sweeter the flavour.
Teff is rich in high-quality slow carbohydrates, proteins, essential amino acids, fibres, calcium, iron and minerals. It is gluten-free and constitutes a perfect replacement for wheat, barley and rye. Its properties are associated with helping weight control, speeding up muscle repair after long exercise and providing long-lasting energy.It’s no wonder that award-winning Ehtiopian athletes attribute their health and stamina to traditional injera flatbread, made from teff flour.
Teff is slowly becoming widely known, with growing markets in North America and Europe. It’s properties make teff flour, flakes and grains a must for gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan, diabetic and fitness-centred diets. It is a versatile ingredient and can be used from breakfast meals, to wheat and other grain substitutes, as well as salty snacks. Teff can add girth to stews and soups, or be used as ingredients for pancakes, breads, pastas, biscuits and other baked goods. The grains themselves add a crunchy layer to salads and snacks such as yogurt and porridge.
- The Whole Grains Council. “Teff and Millet- November Grains of the Month“. Accessed Nov. 2014
- The Huffington Post. “Is Teff the New Superfood?“. June, 2014.
- Maskal Teff, The Teff Company. “What is Teff?“. Accessed Nov. 2014
- What’s Cooking, America. “Teff, a Nutritious and Versatile Grain“. Accessed Nov. 2014
- The Guardian. “Move over Quinoa, Ethiopia’s Teff Poised to be Next Super Grain“. January, 2014
Image: The Huffington Post