If you are looking to invest in local food from the Boise, Idaho area – consider the whole grain, gluten free, local harvest of teff. This wild grass, once harvested and shipped in from the other side of the world, has been growing along the beautiful Snake River Valley since the mid-80’s.
Teff is a tasty, nutritious, healthy alternative to many high-sugar yielding flours currently found in the majority of our food supply. This poppy-sized grain comes in red, brown, or white and each have their own distinct flavor.
History of Teff:
The Greeks coined this lovely crop as “the grass of love”. Once foraged in Africa, teff served as a staple food for the Ethiopians but is now attracting many heart healthy, gluten free, conscientious eaters. This resilient crop fed our ancestors thousands of years ago and continues to thrive, even in the most challenging climates.
Health benefits of Teff:
- Nutrients: Excellent source of minerals such a s vitamin C (unusual to grains) and high in iron. Surprisingly, 1 cup of cooked teff has as much calcium as a ½ cup of cooked spinach.
- Weight-loss and other health benefits: An estimated 20-40% of teff's carbohydrates consist of the newly discovered dietary fiber known as resistant starch, making this tiny little grain beneficial in the assistance of weight control, blood sugar, and colon health.
How to cook Basic Teff:
1 cup teff grain
3 cups water (or broth)
pinch sea salt
1. In a medium pot, bring water and salt to a boil.
2. Add teff and stir a little; cover with an airtight lid.
3. Cook 15 - 20 minutes.
4. Near the end of cook time, stir occasionally.
Yields 3 ½ cups
Tips and tricks on how to cook whole grains:
- Washing: Not all grains need to be washed, however if there is any chaff, dust, or debris they will need to be removed prior to cooking. Either put them in a pot, fill with water, swirl, rinse, and re-peat until the water s clear or place them in a strainer, run warm water over them, and lift with your fingers until the water runs clear.
- Cooking: For the best results use a stainless steel pot with a thick, aluminum core bottom for even heat distribution and a tightly fitted lid. NOTE: If tough and chewy, you may have boiled them too long. If mushy or clumped, the initial heat may not have been high enough or perhaps you added too much liquid.
- Salting: Amaranth, wheat berries, kamut berries, and spelt berries should NOT be cooked with salt because it inhibits the liquid absorption. All other grains cooked with a pinch of salt will open them up and bring out the sweetness rather than leaving them tasting flat.
- Gluten free grains: Amaranth, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, teff, millet, and quinoa. Wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut all contain gluten. Oats vary, so check to see if they are certified gluten-free.
- Always consult your physician if you have special diet or health related issues.
For additional information and local places to shop for healthy foods, click on any of the following links:
- To learn more about teff, click on the link in this sentence.
- For more information about whole grains, click on the link in this sentence.
- Boise Co-Op
- Whole Foods Market
- Brown Box Organics
- The Organic Store Locator
From my home to yours, another favorite recipe - enjoyed with nutrition in mind.