Sorghum is a non-gluten whole grain that provides many other nutritional benefits. It’s the fifth most important cereal crop in the world, largely because of its natural drought tolerance and versatility. In Africa and parts of Asia, sorghum is primarily a human food product, while in Australia it has mainly been used for livestock feed. It’s also grown as an ethanol plant in the USA. However it’s popularity for baking is on the rise since it is a nutritious gluten-free flour alternative.
Sorghum is a genus of plants in the grass family, and is a distant relative of sugarcane. There are native species in many countries including Australia, Africa, Asia, Central America, and some islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
However only one species is grown for grain, and cultivated in warm climates worldwide. Sorghum is also known as milo in Australia; guinea corn, kafir corn, mtama and dura in different parts of Africa; jowar in India and kaoliang in China.
Sorghum kernels vary in color from white and pale yellow to deep reds, purples and browns; white, bronze, and brown kernels are most common.
At Kialla we mill white sorghum into flour while red sorghum is used in stockfeed.
The strain of sorghum that is cultivated as an ancient cereal grain has been traced back at least 8000 years to the Nabta Playa in Southern Egypt. It was first domesticated in Ethiopia and Sudan and from there moved throughout all of Africa, where it remains an important cereal grain.
It’s believed that it had travelled to India during the first millennium BC, as a major food on trading ships, and from there was disbursed along the silk trade routes.
The grain is not only free of gluten it offers many other nutritional benefits. It has a relatively high antioxidant profile, the consumption of which may help lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and some neurological diseases. The wax surrounding the sorghum grain contains compounds called policosanols, which may also improve heart health and cholesterol.
Sorghum doesn’t have an inedible hull like some other grains so all the grain layers are used, thus the flour retains the majority of its nutrients.
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