By Cary Neff, Experience Life
Many of us know millet primarily as an ingredient in bird feed, but it’s also a highly nutritious and tasty staple that can complement a wide array of flavors and cuisines.
Like quinoa and amaranth, millet is actually a seed, but it’s classified as a grain in cookbooks because that’s the way it’s most often prepared. Gluten-free, and high in both protein and fiber, this subtle and slightly nutty-flavored traditional grain is enjoying a comeback in prepared foods, like cereals, breads and crackers, and as an alternative grain for healthy home cooking.
Millet is most often served like rice, although in Eastern Europe, China, India and Africa, it’s also used to make hot cereals; thin, unleavened breads; and even fermented beverages.
Millet seeds are tiny and almost perfectly spherical — about 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter. Although there are several types of commonly eaten millet, pearl millet, which is usually eaten in the United States, accounts for 50 percent of the world’s millet crop.
Typically sold whole, millet is also available in a cracked form (which is used in traditional couscous) and, increasingly, as a whole-grain flour
Thanks to its mild, neutral flavor and delicate texture, millet combines well with a wide variety of dishes. So read on to learn all about it — then experiment and enjoy!
Next: Nutritional Value and Recipes