Millet- an introduction

I know I said I would be doing cupcakes this week, but something more important came up. What exactly? Well, recently, my school’s business club decided to get involved with a charity called 中国娃(China Kids), which helps build computer labs in rural schools (read more here).

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As our project, we decided to sell produce from the rural regions. Our first products were rice and millet from ShanXi province. It sold well with Chinese parents, but when we tried to advertise to teachers, we ran into a problem: Like most westerners they were unfamiliar with it. Hence, here is an introduction

What is it?

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Millet is not one plant, but a highly diverse group. In fact, it technically isn’t even a family of grains, but rather a family of seeded grasses. There are hundreds of varieties, but the most common are the pearl, finger, foxtail and proso varieties. It thrives in hot, dry conditions and is fairly drought resistant, making it an ideal crop. It has been grown for over 10,000 years and is still a staple crop is most of Asia and Africa, However, in the US, its most common use is in bird feed. Taste wise, it has a very pleasant, slightly nutty taste, but some people find the small grains a bit annoying. I personally love it.

Health Benefits

Millet is one of the healthiest grains around. Although it is fairly high calorie, 378/100g uncooked, it is full of fiber, vitamin, minerals and antioxidants. It is also gluten free and surprisingly high in protein. I could go on, but this infographic does a better job:

How to eat it?

Probably, the most common way of eating millet in China is as porridge. Simply cook the millet in more water than necessary and Viola! While millet porridge makes a delicious (and very filling) breakfast, it’s boring. So, here are some more interesting recipes I found online that involve millet:

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Millet Burgers

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Millet pudding

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White millet soup

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Millet Pancakes

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