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Discovering millet

Discovering millet

Published Mar 7, 2024 Updated Mar 7, 2024 Gastronomy
time 3 min
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Discovering millet

A little-known cereal that would benefit from being on our plates more often

We’re familiar with cereals such as wheat, rice, corn, and oats, but we’re less familiar with millet. However, this cereal can easily compete with the most popular ones, thanks to its ease of cultivation, its nutritional benefits, and the fact that it can be added to any meal.

This generic term «millet» includes ten to twelve different types of cereal, divided into two groups: sorghum and proso millet. The latter, with its much smaller grains, is considered the “real” millet.

 

Available as grains, flakes, or flour, this cereal is very popular in Africa and Asia but is completely forgotten in the West. With most of the crop still destined for livestock feed, perhaps we’d do well to consider adding it to our menu.

Nutritional benefits

Millet is a great option for those with gluten intolerance and offers a range of benefits. Not only is it rich in minerals, such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins, but it’s also high in fiber and easy to digest. Millet is an excellent source of protein, making it ideal for vegetarian diets. It has a low glycemic index and contains many pantothenic acids, which can help reduce feelings of fatigue.

Advantages of millet cultivation

 

Millet offers various ecological benefits, in addition to being beneficial for our well-being and health. This grain requires significantly less water than rice, which means that even partially replacing rice with millet could greatly reduce the need for land irrigation. Additionally, millet needs less fertilizer to grow, making it a more eco-friendly option.

https://pixabay.com/photos/pearl-millet-pennisetum-glaucum-204105/

Millet is a type of crop that is known for its exceptional ability to withstand extreme climatic conditions. Unlike other crops, millet is highly resistant to drought and major temperature variations, which makes it an ideal choice for farmers who are looking for a more reliable crop. Due to its remarkable adaptability, millet can thrive in a variety of environments, including drylands and degraded soils, where other crops may struggle to survive.

Millet also matures very quickly. It can produce grain just 45 days after planting. This means that large quantities of millet can be produced quickly, and it can be stored practically indefinitely under optimum conditions.

Cooking millet

Millet is a versatile cereal that can be used in many ways. It can be considered a cross between quinoa and oats.

https://fromscratchfast.com/millet-breakfast-porridge-gf/
 

Millet can be used to make porridge, just like oat flakes or oatmeal. It can be boiled in hot milk or water and served with fruit, nuts, or yogurt.

It can also be used to make couscous or risotto, with a delicious sauce for added flavor, or be added to soup by boiling it or blended to make a velouté soup.

https://www.etsy.com/ca-fr/listing/1387980606/farine-de-millet-bajra-millets-perles
 

Millet can be ground into flour and used in place of regular flour in muffin or cake recipes. It adds protein to these moist desserts and can even be used to make pizza dough.

https://nutritionstudies.org/recipes/breakfast/millet-sausage-patties/
 

You can be creative with millet and make a delicious vegetarian croquette or burger patty. Mixed with onion, a little flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, millet can be added to a mixture from which we can pan-fry pieces to make a croquette or burger.

Adaptable and multifunctional, millet can be added to many types of recipes, replacing other ingredients or adding nutritional value.

Precaution

It is crucial to cook millet before consuming it because eating it raw may cause damage to proteins due to the enzymes present in it. Millet is known to contain a significant amount of phytic acid, which can prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body. To get the most out of millet, it is recommended to soak it for a period of one to two hours before cooking, which helps to reduce the phytic acid content. Make sure to change the water used for soaking before cooking.

Enjoy the benefits of millet, but don’t overdo it!

Millet has numerous advantages and benefits for both our health and crops. However, similar to quinoa, which has comparable nutritional properties, we should be cautious about letting millet’s popularity skyrocket. Experts warn against over-enthusiasm, citing negative consequences observed with quinoa. Growing demand has led to its removal from local diets in favor of profitable exports. Millet is a good food to add to our diet for a little more variety, but you don’t need to put it everywhere either.

Like everything in life, including eating and cooking, it’s all a question of moderation and variety!

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