Botanical name: Pennisetum glaucum (Pearl Millet, the most cultivated type)
This whole grain is a staple for a third of the world’s population and dates back all the way to the dry climates of Africa and northern China since the Neolithic Era. Legends attribute its domestication to the Chinese Emperor of the Five Grains, Shennong, thousands of years BC. There is even mention of millet in the Bible as an ingredient for unleavened bread!
Although today many attribute millet seeds to bird feed, this is a widely underestimated grain. It boasts a high nutritional value and is anti-allergenic. Also a gluten-free grain, millet is typically believed to be helpful in protecting our bodies against type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stomach ulcers and some forms of cancer. It’s nutritious – providing fiber, iron, copper, B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium – and highly alkaline, making it easily digestible and soothing to the stomach. It’s impressive nutritional qualities make it a very interesting supplement for vitamins and minerals for vegeterian and vegan diets.
It’s a perfect side dish for meats or vegetables and can be directly prepared in the pan. It is a versatile grain whose consistency varies depending upon cooking method; it can be creamy like mashed potatoes or fluffy like rice.
- NPR. “Can Millet Take On Quinoa?“. October, 2013.
- Care 2. “Twelve Health Benefits of Millet“. May, 2012.
- The World’s Healthiest Foods. “Millet“. Accessed on Nov. 2014.
- The Kitchn. “Good Grains: What is Millet?“. Accessed on Nov. 2014.
Image: Bluebell Exim.