Joanne Hollander's suggestions, observations and a few anecdotes about food and eating today:
November 21, 2013 by Melissa Montovani

Gluten Free Grains: TeffWhile Ethiopians have been using ground and fermented teff (usually with wheat flour) to make injera, North Americans haven’t been running to try it with as much enthusiasm. However, for those who have been asking themselves, “what foods are gluten free?” and/or following our gluten free whole grains blog series, you may want to reconsider because there is a lot to love about both whole grain teff and teff flour.

Teff grain is small. In fact, it’s the smallest grain in the world, so small that “100 to 150 teff grains equal the size of one wheat kernal” according to Allergic Living. However, don’t let its smallness fool you because if anything, its size helps it pack a bigger nutritional punch than it would otherwise have. First, since it’s so tiny, it’s impossible to separate the seed’s outer coating (the bran) from the rest of the grain. Second, it’s size means that a larger portion of it is accounted for by the germ and bran, the healthiest parts of a grain, which are sometimes stripped of other grains during processing. As for the actual nutritional profile of teff, the Whole Grains Council says that teff leads all other grains in “its calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123 mg, about the same amount as in a half-cup of cooked spinach.” They go on to say that it’s “an excellent source of vitamin C,” which isn’t something commonly found in other grains, 20-40% of its carbohydrates are from a type of dietary fiber that may benefit blood-sugar, weight control, and colon health, and has other vitamins and minerals that the body needs for optimal health.

Even if the health benefits of teff don’t astound you (though I can’t imagine why not), then it still would be worth checking it out because of how versatile this nutty grain is. In grain form, teff can be used as a side dish, in veggie burgers, as a thickener in soups or stews, and as a change of pace from more common hot breakfast cereals. When ground down into a flour, teff can be used as the only or as part of a combination of gluten free flours when making baked goods, like dark breads, cakes, cookies, or muffins, for pancakes, or homemade injera for an Ethiopian feast. For those who need a little help determining the appropriate ratio of teff flour to others based on what you’re making or with learning to prepare the whole grain, then check out this convenient chart produced by dietician and author, Shelley Case, for Allergic Living here:

How To Cook With Teff

Once you have the basics down, click the links below to experiment with the following 21 teff recipes that we’ve compiled for you here, including one that is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games book series and movie franchise — just in time for Catching Fire’s release on November 22nd:

Thanks again for reading this post — the final one in the gluten-free whole grains blog series. In case you missed the previous posts in the series, then feel free to check out our thoughts and recipes featuring quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and rice now and leave comments below about the recipes that you want to try and other series that you’d like to see on our blog.

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Joanne Hollander is the founder of Soyummi Foods and a food expert, who still loves to spend time experimenting in her kitchen. A strong proponent of healthy and natural eating, Joanne shares suggestions, observations and a few anecdotes about food and eating today.

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