Millet is one of the oldest grains eaten by humans. In the Bible it was used to make bread. Millet has been used in parts of Africa and in India as a staple food for thousands of years; in China it was grown in 2700 BC. Today, millet sustains about one quarter of the world’s population.
It is a excellent source of carbohydrate and amino acids (protein). Of all the cereal grains (excluding quinoa as it is not a grain!), millet has the highest amino acid profile including methionine which is often low in grains. Also contains lecithin, vitamin B complex, E and K and the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, manganese, silica, iron and potassium and fibre.
The hulls (not usually eaten by humans, as they are very hard) contain substances that can inhibit absorption of iodine, which may reduce thyroid function and cause goitre. These substances are diminished through correct preparation and cooking methods. (See below)
Uses and Benefits
Millet is a nutritions grains that is low in fat and easily digested. It is alkaline forming food. Balances blood sugar, has a low allergenic potential, benefits those with high cholesterol (contains lecithin). Can sweeten breath by reducing bacteria in the mouth, and sooths 'morning' sickness (all day sickness!), reduces constipation, cancer preventer (contains nitrilosides). Good source of protein for vegetarians.
Buy the hulled grain (i.e. the hull has been removed), hulling does not affect the nutrient value as the germ is not damaged through this process.
Use 3 parts water and 1 part grain, cook until all water has boiled off, remove from heat and cover with tea-towel, replace lid and leave to sit for ten minutes.
The grain can be lightly dry-roasted in the oven before cooking. This adds a slightly different flavour.
Millet may also be sprouted.