Gluten-free millet gaining ground in U.S.

Mention millet and most will say it’s in bird feed and other animal feed.

I imagine few of you have it on your grocery list. But it may appear there in the near future.

Although it has been eaten by people for centuries around the world as a major food source, it is finally gaining in popularity in the food (for humans) industry here in the United States because it is highly nutritious and has a nutty whole grain taste. The Colorado Department of Agriculture says the gluten-free nature of millet is a main reason for its popularity.

Colorado is the No. 1 millet producing state in the nation, with approximately 200,000 acres producing more than 5 million bushels each year.

Millet is adaptable to various climates and grows fast.

Learn about this interesting grain at The following recipes are from this website.

But first, my take on the taste and ways to use millet.

You’ll find millet in health food stores and some supermarkets. I really like it for:

uE06E Cereal with milk, sweetener, fruit and cinnamon.

uE06E Stir fry, such as fried rice with lots of vegetables.

uE06E Soups, casseroles, salads made with fresh sweet onion, peppers, other vegetables and a light vinaigrette.

I’m still experimenting, but now I can say I eat like a bird.

Basic Millet Cooking Instructions

You’ll need to experiment a few times to get the texture you want.

From Jean Hediger, Golden Prairie Inc.,

Rinse millet before cooking. Put 2 1/2 cups water in a pot and 1 cup millet. Start cooking with a medium high heat: when it starts to boil, turn down to simmer; loosely cover with lid. After 20–25 minutes, water should be absorbed and millet cooked. Remove from heat; sit 10 minutes to optimize texture/flavor. Toast in skillet before cooking for a few minutes for an even nuttier taste. Millet more than doubles when cooked.

Black Bean and Millet Medley

Savory, vegetarian, gluten-free and provides a complete source of protein.

3 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked millet
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 3/4 cups chopped cilantro,
1 avocado, chopped
2 1/2 cups drained, unsalted canned whole black beans
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons top flake salt (Kosher type)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Bring water to boil: add uncooked millet. Bring water to a boil again; cover saucepan, reduce heat to low/medium low. Cook covered for 30 minutes or until all water’s absorbed. Remove from heat; allow cooling uncovered for 30–40 minutes. Break up clumps, fluff cooled millet with fork.

If serving immediately, add peppers, tomatoes, onion, avocado and cilantro to bowl, toss. If chilling, wait until serving to add those ingredients.

Drain black beans; add to vegetables. Mix lime juice, balsamic vinegar and oil. Pour over vegetables add seasonings and mix in millet. Serve immediately or chill.

Millet Trail Mix

From Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., Valley Country Club, Aurora

1 cup Pepita (pumpkin) seeds
2 cups millet  
1 cup quick oats, rolled
1 cup salted sunflower seeds, seeds only, no shells
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In medium stainless steel bowl combine pepita, millet, oats sunflower seeds. Roast at 275 degrees for approximately 40 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.

Place the mixture in a bowl, add cranberries, cherries, agave nectar. Mix well.

Prepare cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Spread mixture on cookie sheet, roast at 425 degrees, approximately 12 minutes or until medium golden. Remove from oven; allow cooling completely for one hour.
Add chocolate chips.

Shelf life: two weeks if kept in sealed plastic bags in cool dry area.

Reminder: Stop by my booth at the Grand Valley Health Fair from 7 a.m. to noon Friday and Saturday at Central High School for tastes of some other good-for-you foods. Register for cookbooks and other food related items.


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