What is Millet Flour?
Millets are a small-seeded grain belonging to the grass family. These grains are broken down to powder form to create a flour that can be used the same way you would use regular wheat flour.
A staple in many diets around the world, millet grew wild in Africa for centuries before being cultivated by man. In addition to being nutrient-rich, it grows well in cold, arid regions and can be harvested within 70 days of planting. While it has been primarily cultivated in Africa, Asia, and Europe, it is becoming more popular in the Western world.
Millet is frequently described as an ancient grain, though it is technically a seed. Millet offers similar health benefits to other grains and can be prepared in many of the same ways. It looks like little yellow pellets of bird seed (which is, in fact, one of the ways it is used) but it cooks up into a tender grain that has a mild corn flavor. It is both nutrient-rich and offers numerous heart-protective properties in addition to other benefits. Plus, it is something unique that can help add some flavor variety to your
gluten free diet.
What are some of the attributes and benefits of millet flour?
Millet is a whole grain that’s packed with protein, antioxidants, and nutrients (B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and fats). Its nutty taste and versatility make it well worth trying. Also, it has multiple advantages over other crops, including drought and pest resistance. It’s also able to survive in harsh environments and less fertile soil. These benefits stem from its genetic composition and physical structure — for example, its small size and hardness. Millet is rich in nutrients and plant compounds. Therefore, it may offer multiple health benefits.
Millet flours are a great alternative for those trying to avoid gluten. Gluten is a protein that exists in wheat products, which may trigger harmful digestive symptoms if consumed by people with gluten intolerance. Many individuals use millet flours as a substitute to traditional wheat when cooking or baking. When shopping for millet, you should still look for a label that certifies it gluten-free to ensure it hasn’t been contaminated with any gluten-containing ingredients.
MAY HELP REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Millet flour is rich in fiber and non-starchy polysaccharides, two types of indigestible carbs that help control blood sugar levels. It also has a low glycemic index (GI) meaning that it’s unlikely to spike your blood sugar levels. Thus, millets are considered an ideal grain for people with diabetes.
Millet flours are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are both essential for keeping your system regular and preventing any digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea. Millets are also known to be “pre-biotic” which means they foster the growth of good bacteria along your digestive tract.
HELPS PROTECT YOUR HEART
The soluble fiber in millet flours absorbs bad cholesterol and safely carries it out of your system. Cholesterol is a major contributor to heart disease, therefore regular consumption of millet flours in your diet can help keep your heart healthy.
RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
Millet flour is rich in phenolic compounds, especially ferulic acid and catechins. These molecules act as antioxidants to protect your body from harmful oxidative stress. While all millet varieties contain antioxidants, those with a darker color — such as finger, proso, and foxtail millet — have more than their white or yellow counterparts.
Millet contains soluble fiber, which produces a viscous substance in your gut. In turn, this traps fats and helps reduce cholesterol levels. Additionally, millet protein may help lower cholesterol.
What type of Millet Flour should I use?
Bloom Organic Bazaar currently carries 3 types of millet flours. We encourage you to try each one and experiment which flour works best for your lifestyle. While each flour packs a punch of health benefits and nutrients, each carries its own fragrance, texture and consistency when cooking.
SORGHUM FLOUR (JOWAR)
Sorghum flour (also known as Jowar Atta) is an ancient grain from the millet family. Rich in fibre, nutrients, and iron, Jowar Atta is preferred by the gluten intolerant and is often cooked as a porridge to be eaten alongside other foods.
PEARL MILLET (BAJRA)
Pearl Millet (also known as Bajra), which is one of the most common millets available. Rich in fiber, proteins and essential minerals, pearl millet flour is a healthy gluten-free alternative to wheat.
FINGER MILLET (RAGI)
Finger millet (also known as Ragi), is a reddish flour that is commonly used in combination with other flours to make Indian bread. It is also popular in parts of Africa. Ragi Flour is high in nutritional content - particularly Iron and Calcium.
How to prepare or cook with Millet Flour?
● Due to its mild, sweet flavour and a smooth texture Sorghum flour(Jowar) works well in sweet and savoury recipes.
● It can be used as a substitute for oat flour.
● Breads, quick breads and muffins are some examples of baked goods made with millet flour.
FLAT BREAD (ROTI)
● Pearl millet (Bajra) flour is commonly used in India to make savory flatbread that pairs well with a variety of Indian dishes, but it also tastes great on its own.
● Simple recipe: Just mix up millet flour, salt, water and ghee or coconut oil and sear quickly on a hot skillet. The result is a dense and flavorful flatbread with beautiful sear marks on either side.
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH OPTIONS
● Finger millet (Ragi) flour is one of the most commonly used millet in Indian cuisine. Especially in dry regions of southern states.
● Ragi flour is used in making pancakes, laddoo’s, cookies, dosas, upma and idlis.
● A great way to introduce ragi flour to babies is making porridge.
How to store Millet Flour?
Millet flour should be stored in an airtight container, in a cool and dry place. It can last as long as a year or longer if stored properly.
Did You Know?
● Before rice was widely consumed, millet was the staple grain in Asia, as long ago as 8300 B.C.E.
● India is the world's largest producer of millet, with eight African countries and China making up the rest of the top ten producers.
● Millet can grow anywhere from one to 15 feet tall, depending on the variety.