Who would have thought that a fistful of grain could pack such a nutritional punch and be versatile to boot...
About: Teff is a cereal grain native to Northeastern Africa and Southwestern Arabia. Teff is an annual grass, a species of lovegrass, native to the northern Ethiopian Highlands of northeastern Africa. Common names include taff, lovegrass, annual bunch grass. It is now cultivated in the US too particularly in Idaho. The demand for teff has grown in recent years due to the ease of cultivation, gluten-free attribute and superior nutritional content. It is adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to waterlogged soil conditions. Maximum teff production occurs at altitudes of 1800 to 2100 m, growing season rainfall of 450 to 550 mm, and a temperature range of 10 to 27 °C. Teff is day length sensitive and flowers best with 12 hours of daylight.
Today, it is easily available, in the form of flour and whole grain form in most health food stores. The grain has a very mild, nutty flavor, and is amazingly nutritious and versatile. It is high in dietary fiber and iron and a good source of good quality complex carbohydrates, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, boron, magnesium, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. A big advantage, the iron from teff is easily absorbed by the body. Teff is also considered to have an excellent amino acid composition (including all 8 essential amino acids for humans) and has lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Because of this variety, it stimulates the flora of the large intestine. Most importantly, it contains no gluten, so it is appropriate for those who have a wheat allergy and those suffering from celiac disease. White teff is relatively more nutriotious than the red colored variety. Along with other alternative grains like quinoa and millet, teff has become a staple.
There are a number of ways to use teff. In Ethiopia, teff is the primary ingredient in injera, a type of fermented bread, a staple of Ethiopian cuisine. Teff can also be ground into flour to make an excellent gluten-free flour alternative. It can be used effectively t o make pie crusts, cookies, breads, and an assortment of other baked goods. Teff can also be eaten whole and steamed, boiled, or baked as a side dish or a main course or used as a thickener.
I have personally used it in breads, cookies, pancakes and tortillas with great success.
Availability: Some of the companies that offer teff are Shiloh Farms (http://www.shilohfarms.com) and Bob’s red Mill (http://www.bobsredmill.com). Teff is available in most health food stores like Fountain of Vitality and Whole Foods and through online stores like Amazon. Here are links to some of the products available through the Amazon store:
Shelf Life: If stored in cool, dry and dark conditions – it will keep for about a year.