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Teff - Staple Grain of Ethiopia

Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu

Teff, also called lovegrass, is a staple grain originally grown in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Teff dates back as far as 4000 BC and grains of teff have even been found in a pyramid dating to 3359 BC. Teff is now cultivated in Ethiopia, India, Australia, The Netherlands, and in the U.S.

Teff is grown as a cereal crop and ground into flour to make injera, porridges, and even alcoholic beverages. This grain measures about 1/32 of an inch, smaller than a poppy seed, and is easily lost if dropped, thus the name 'teff' which is derived from the Amheric word 'teffa' which means 'easily lost'. Other names for teff include taffi, xaffi, taff, ttheff, tteff, thaff, tcheff, and thaft.

Because of the small size of teff grain, an entire handful can sow an entire field. This is advantageous to the semi-nomadic lifestyle of Ethiopian tribes. The storage and transportation of this grain becomes very easy for the space limitations of nomadic people. Teff grain stores well and is a good seed bank grain since pests and rodents prefer other grains to eat.

An eight ounce serving of teff yields 32% of the US recommended daily allowance for calcium and 80% for iron. A two ounce serving of teff has 7 grams of protein the same as an extra large egg. Teff has 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of fiber per two ounce serving. Teff has a very high calcium content. Teff contains high levels of phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition (including all 8 essential amino acids), with lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Teff is high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. It contains no gluten so it is good for people with gluten intolerance.

Teff flour can be substituted into bread recipes by simply replacing part of the flour portion. Uncooked teff grains can be used as a substitution for sesame seeds and various nuts.

Teff Flour is available at Amazon.com
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Content copyright © 2014 by Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Dawn Denton for details.

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