Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Teff: An Alternate Grain

This post'll have to be quick..I'm headed to work soon.

I'm hearing a lot of mention about experimentation growing grains from home. With food prices and availability being what they are (and not appearing to be headed the other direction any time soon), we're all having to consider moving our supplier from the supermarket to our own backyards. This is comfortable for us to a point, but what about growing grains and things we'd usually buy in bulk from a larger source?

I just wanted to post something about the grain, Teff. It's something I ran across when glutting myself with gorgeous reading on native/traditional foods of Africa and the Middle East. Teff is an ancient grain with the distinction of being very low gluten. But you had me at "ancient."

What's great about low gluten? There are a lot of folks out here with a sensitivity to higher gluten grains such as wheat. My sis has recently been diagnosed with such sensitivities...some are downright allergic to gluten.

Another interesting thing is that Teff is Ethiopia's primary traditional grain...the fermented flatbread that's really more like a pancakey crepe is called Injera. It's cooked on a griddle and used by hand in lieu of a untensil to carefully pick up bites of cooked food (and it's juices)and eat them. I had some Injera at an Ethiopian restaurant, and it was served where you could use it to select bites from a communal (at your own table) dish of stewed meat or vegetables...delicious!

In reading more about Teff, it seems it's been making its way closer to home. Teff grains are not its only virtue...the plant itself makes a good fodder plant. I know it's being grown in Kansas and Oklahoma, and the brief research I've seen has shown it seems to be able to weather both wet weather and conditions as well as droughts.

I love exploring "ancient" plants, and I'm looking for some teff grains to test in our kitchen, especially to ferment some batches of Injera, which looks very straightforward and easy. The fact it's adaptable to extending the growing season and to be a good forage for livestock is an added bonus. I can see us doing a test plot soon if it's really that adaptable.

If you've had any experience with this grain, we'd love to hear from you! If you experiment with it, we'd love to hear your adventures :)


Razor Family Farms said...

I have no experience with grain. My husband grew up in the Midwest with fields of the stuff and said it was a great place for mice. In fact, everyone dreaded the harvest time because mice then invaded everyone's homes.

Anyway, I'm so glad that you stopped by my blog today and said hello. Thank you for not giving up on me!!!


TOCCO said...

Never heard of teff.... but that has been the talk. With bread likely to be as much as a gallon of gasoline, we are ready to try to grow our own!

ilex said...

I have minimal experience with teff, but I've always been drawn to it 'cos the name sounds like TOUGH. Clearly, this is not a grain not to be trifled with. I was diagnosed with a gluten thing about 7 years ago, and teff has been on my short list for a while. Now that you've gone reminded me, and I wanna go find some and mess around with it. Will report back soon, ma'am.

Right now, though, I'm on a quinoa kick- boyoboy, is it deelish.

Anonymous said...

I am hoping my seed supply of teff will be here soon, Trials on Teff are occuring here in aussie in the state I live in, heres some info:


Razor Family Farms said...

Any more peacock sightings?


Robbyn said...

Hey, Lacy...I disappeared for a few days, but that's how life rolls...I'm never too far, though...the posts just sometimes get fewer and further between as life picks up :) So glad to see your site back up!

Christina, yes it'll be interesting to see what successes we backyard folks will have with grain experiments...now's the time to give it a try!

Ilex, ok, I'll be a-watchin' to see what great things you do with the Teff by and by. I've never played around, or even tried quinoa. So I up and bought a small batch to try cooking with after you mentioned it. It's fun experimenting, innit?

Molly, thank you for the link...I'm very interested to see how the trials fare! I'll be perusing the link as I'm able to grab a little free time in the next couple days...thanks for forwarding it :)

Latigo Liz said...

They are growing Teff hay for livestock here in WA. I haven’t used it, but other friends have and their horses seem to enjoy it and do well on it. I have not seen nutritional forage analysis results on it.