Friday, January 29, 2010

Food Friday: Teff

Recently, I ran across a blog called Wild About Nature, and the post of the day was about a grain called Teff. I thought I was pretty well informed about the many different types of grain in existence, but it turns out, there are gaps in my knowledge. Such is always the case (since one cannot possibly know everything)! Luckily, I love learning. And now I have an entry for "what I learned today."

Teff is also known as Lovegrass, Annual Bunch Grass, or Warm Season Annual Bunch Grass and is said to have been domesticated in Ethiopia about 4000–1000 BC. It is grown primarily as a cereal crop in Ethiopia. It is also ground into flour and used in flatbread (injera), eaten as porridge, or to make home-brew alcoholic beverages. The grain is considered good forage for livestock, and the straw fibers are used to reinforce mud and plaster used in construction. Teff can be used in many recipes, such as pancakes, hushpuppies, cookies, and muffins. (Teff Factsheet)

Teff is one of the smallest grains in the world, measuring about 1/150th the size of a grain of wheat. It is a gluten-free grain, and packs a pretty nice nutritional punch. According to Marilee's Teff page: "One cup of cooked teff contains 387 milligrams of calcium (40 percent of the USRDA, which is more than milk), 15 milligrams of iron (100 percent of the USRDA and twice as much iron as wheat and barley) and is high in protein as well as fiber. A rich source of boron, copper, phosphorus, zinc."

Teff can be purchased from Bob's Red Mill at approximately $4.00/pound. (Visit Marilee's Teff page for other purchase information.) It is relatively expensive, considering that you can purchase organic whole wheat flour from Bob's Red Mill for about $1.29/pound. If you have to follow a gluten-free diet, it might be worth a try.

The positives: high in nutrition, unaltered from its ancient state (to my knowledge), non-gmo, REAL FOOD

The negatives: it is definitely not local to anybody in the U.S., relatively high price

I am not sure this grain will be on my shopping list anytime soon because I want to eat more locally than sourced from Ethiopia, but I will tuck it away in my pocketful of knowledge in case I ever need to change that position.

If you want to read more about Real Food and ways you can be a food renegade and enjoy Fight Back Fridays, visit Real Food Media. You don't have to consider yourself a "Food Renegade" but I kind of like the term. Leave me comments about your food thoughts!

Happy Healthful Eating...

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