Monday, November 12, 2012

millet, more than bird food

Millet, a grain that is so underused. It is so sad that in the United States we typically feed it to the birds. Some belive that millet has been around since the begining of time. One of the first records of millet is about 2800 BC. Fan Shen Chiu Shu (tables of agricultural dicta) delcared millet to be one of China's five sacred crops. It was also cultivated in India about that same era. It is a hearty grain that
will grow in many climates. In the absense of rain, it will hibernate and when the rain comes it awakens and returns to its growing cycle.

Millet was known as "The gruel of endurance" in the Old Testament. Many believed that it would kep them of sound body and clear mind. It is a wonderful grain packed with Phospherous, iron, calcium, riboflavin,and niacin. When cooked in combination with other grains like rice, corn, or oats it creates a carbohydrate complex that will knock your socks off. 

© Msg-s | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Millet has so much to offer, it is an easily digested grain that is very alkaline. It is considered to be one of the supergrains. It has all the  essential amino acids to make it a complete protein on its own. It is gluten free so it is a great addition for those who may have a gluten intolerance or who are following the gluten free trend.

To buy millet you may have to visit a specialty store or order online. More stores are begining to carry it nowdays. If your grocery store has a bulk foods section you could also check there. My store just started with a bulk food section and millet is one of the grains that they stock. Make sure that you buy hulled millet and store it in a cool dry place.

Millet should be toasted before cooking. It enhances the flavor and helps the grain to cook more evenly. It is so simple to toast millet.
1.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
2.  Add the millet to the dry pan.
3. Toss or stir for about 3-4 minutes until you get a toasty aroma and it begins to turn a deep golden color
4.Now it is ready for cooking.
Once toasted it does not store well. So it is best to toast just before cooking.

Millet is so versitle. It's simple flavor lends itself to many things. It blends into the background. It is a great addition to soups. It is also a great meat extender. Many people use it to extend their meatloaf. You can cook it and subtitute it for rice in many recipes. It is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For a creamy millet at breakfast, cook uncovered and stir to break up the grains. Once cooked it can be stored in the fridge for several days. Cooked millet can be added to a variety of dishes.

Basic cooked millet serves 4-6

1 cup hulled millet
2 cups stock or broth

Place the millet in skillet and toast the grains over a medium high heat for 3-5 minutes until you smell the toasty smells arise from the pan and the grains begin to turn a golden brown color. Place the toasted millet and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

My favorite way to eat millet is cooked with oat groats for a morning breakfast cereal. I overcook the millet with the oatgroats. The millet gets nice and creamy with the oats a bit chewy.

 Millet and oat groat breakfast cereal

3/4 cup millet
1 1/2 cups whole oat groats
6 cups water
In a pressure cooker toast the millet about 3 minutes add the oat groats and toast about 2 minutes longer. Add  water, seal up the pressure cooker and pressure cook  on high for 16 minutes. Quick release the pressure and you are good to go. I cook up a batch and then eat it for several days. I just keep it in the fridge. In the morning I pop a bowlful into the microwave for about a minute and I am ready to go.

Below are some links that you may find useful for more information and recipes

first time cook
vegan coach
recipe land millet recipes

shared at keep it real Thursdays


  1. I love learning more ways to be healthy! Thanks for sharing this post on my blog :)

  2. I was making this back in the 80's. I would mix cooked millet with tomatoes, onions, garlic and chopped celery. Put it in a loaf pan and bake til done. Yummy!

  3. I have only ever had millet as a sweet dish. Liking the savory tip.

    Thanks so much for linking up to "Simple Meals Friday". Hope to see you again next week!

  4. I have not had much experience with millet, but it looks like a worthy endeavor to try it. Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

  5. I've only had millet a couple of times, but this makes me want to make use of it even more!

    Thanks for linking up to Thank Your Body Thursday! Hope you'll come back this next Thursday!

  6. i'm really learning so much about grains lately. i had no idea you could eat millet. i'll watch for some next time i'm out and about :)

    thank you for sharing your post with us at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up! i look forward to seeing what other seasonal & whole/real food posts you have for us this week! xo, kristy