Published: 08/08/2014 - Updated: 11/04/2018
Teff is a highly nutritious grain that has been consumed for 5,000 years by the Ethiopian population, where it has been a hugely important dietary grain. It is a wonderful grain, and easily adaptable to dry land. It began to be commercialized a few years ago in various developed countries, like Germany, the United States (grown especially in Idaho), France, Spain, and England, due to its high nutritional value, and because it is also fit for Celiacs. Celiacs are people who do not tolerate gluten, contained in other grains like wheat, oatmeal, and barley. Teff does not contain gluten, which makes it a highly valued food in those types of diets.
Properties of Teff
- Rich in carbohydrates.
- High fiber content.
- Rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
- High levels of high quality vegetable protein. Contains 8 basic amino acids for a human’s essential diet.
- Contains larger amounts of Lysine that wheat.
- Stimulates flora in the large intestine.
- Provides lots of energy.
The teff grain is compared to millet or quinoa, even though it is a smaller seed, with a slightly more bitter taste. It has been recommended in Gluten-free diets for three year, and is used in high-intensity athletic food due to the amount of energy it provides.
A bit of history…
It has also been cultivated for quite some time in India, southern Africa, and Australia. There are a few Teff varieties, dark and light, the latter of which is more preferred by people. They say that Holland this grain began to be commercialized in Holland. Beyond this grain’s dietary benefits, it is said to be a good investment for farmers, because every kilo of Teff that has been ecologically harvested can be sold for one euro. It’s also easy to harvest, because it adapts to mountainous climates, with average temperatures around 10 degrees C, but never lower than -5 degrees C, using moisture to sprout. After sprouting, the plant no longer needs watering, and grows quickly.
Future culinary uses of Teff
People are currently thinking about elaborating pasta and Teff flour, to make all sorts of dishes. This could be very good news for Celiacs.
- Gebremariam, M. M., Zarnkow, M., & Becker, T. (2014). Teff (Eragrostis tef) as a raw material for malting, brewing and manufacturing of gluten-free foods and beverages: a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 51(11), 2881–2895.
- Cheng, A. (2018). Review: Shaping a sustainable food future by rediscovering long-forgotten ancient grains. Plant Science : An International Journal of Experimental Plant Biology, 269, 136–142.
- Gliszczynska-Swiglo, A., Klimczak, I., & Rybicka, I. (2018). Chemometric analysis of minerals in gluten-free products. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 98(8), 3041–3048.
- Cheng, A., Mayes, S., Dalle, G., Demissew, S., & Massawe, F. (2017). Diversifying crops for food and nutrition security – a case of teff. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 92(1), 188–198.
- Di Ghionno, L., Marconi, O., Lee, E. G., Rice, C. J., Sileoni, V., & Perretti, G. (2017). Gluten-Free Sources of Fermentable Extract: Effect of Temperature and Germination Time on Quality Attributes of Teff [Eragrostis tef (zucc.) Trotter] Malt and Wort. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 65(23), 4777–4785.
- Zhu, F. (2018). Chemical composition and food uses of teff (Eragrostis tef). Food Chemistry, 239, 402–415.