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January 11, 2014

Teff: A Nutritional Powerhouse

by Anne Paddock

Teff is the smallest grain in the world – the size of a poppy seed – but a nutritional powerhouse with 1/4 cup of dry teff providing 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of dietary fiber along with iron and calcium. With a mild nutty flavor, teff can be used to make a hot cereal, added to homemade vegie or bean burgers for a nutritional boost, formed into a polenta-like patty, or used in baked goods. A gluten-free grain, teff flour can also be used to make pancakes,waffles, and baked goods making teff especially popular for those who seek alternative grains to wheat.

Teff-SCultivated for thousands of years in Ethiopia where it is often used to make injera (a flatbread with a slightly spongy texture), teff cooks quickly making it attractive for energy conscious consumers and nomadic tribes. In the west, teff is just beginning to gain popularity and is used to make a porridge that is similar in texture to a wheat farina.

To cook, bring 1 cup of water or stock to a boil, add 1/4 cup of teff, cover and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and add your favorite breakfast toppings  (honey, fresh or dried fruit, and nuts) or add to your favorite soup recipe. Cooked teff is also delicious mixed with cooked steel-cut or rolled oats. Blend the two cooked grains together, sprinkle some cinnamon on top along with diced almonds and sliced bananas for a delicious and nutritious breakfast.

Whole grain teff by Bob’s Red Mill can be purchased in 24 ounce bags for about $6 from www.vitacost.com or directly from Bob’s Red Mill’s website:  www.bobsredmill.com

Purcell Mountain Farms sells two types of teff: Ivory Maskal and Brown, both of which have a nutty taste (although the Ivory Maskal has a milder flavor) and are sold in 1 pound bags ($3.55), 3 pound bags ($8.95) and 5 pound bags ($14.95).  The company also sells both types of teff in a flour format in 1 pound bags ($3.75), 3 pound bags ($8.95) and 5 pound bags ($14.95). To order on-line go to www.purcellmountainfarms.com.

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