Ahh. Millet.

Eating my sandwich today, I was reflecting on how much I love millet. I actually don’t know how the thought jumped into my head, but it’s true. I love millet. Not only because it’s one of the few high-protein grains that’s gluten-free, but also because it is the Supergrain for both nutritional and agricultural reasons. Need a crop that you can store easily in times of famine? You got millet. Arid climate or rocky soil? You got millet. Need more amino acids in your body when meat is not available? You still got millet.

I did some checking on the specific nutritional value once my curiosity was aroused.  I mean, maybe all this attraction I had for millet was all just hype – maybe it was one of those funky artisan grains that just makes bread heavy and coarse and difficult to chew.  But my sources seemed to be in conflict.   Some said it was a good source of certain B vitamins, others that it had a high iron and zinc content.  Still other sources bragged about it’s ‘balanced’ amino acids and high lutein concentrations, which I didn’t really understand.  What makes amino acids balanced?  What is lutein, and why do I want more of it?  I went to this site to find the real info (thank you Sarah) and discovered that it was mostly all true – high in lutein, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, thiamin, niacin, B6, protein, and folate.  So that’s good, I guess.  I also discovered this website which made me curious about cooking with it, as well as giving more detail on the history of the grain.  I was only aware of the Ethiopian highlands use of the grain, where it could be harvested three times in a season due to its ability to grow in arid conditions.  But evidently China owes it a debt of thanks as well.

I guess that makes it even more strange that millet was not chosen as on of the plants that changed mankind in the book, Seeds of Change.  But then, when I looked at the book a bit closer, I noticed most of those seed had a negative impact on history, and were the result of cataclysmic change rather than longer-term development.  Millet must only have historical positives.


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