Millet Facts

Millet Facts
Millet is a type of cereal grain that originates from Africa. It belongs to the family of grasses. Due to ability to grow in poor, infertile soil and tolerate drought, millet is one of the most important agricultural crops in the semi-arid parts of Africa and Asia today. Cultivation of millet started nearly 10.000 years ago. It was staple food in the East Asia, before rice was domesticated. In Chinese language, word "harmony" is composed of signs for millet and mouth, placed next to one another. Millet is the sixth most important type of grain today. Besides in human diet, it is used as animal feed.
Interesting Millet Facts:
Millet develops slender stem divided in nodes. It can reach from 1 to 15 feet in height, depending on the variety.
Millet has simple, lanceolate leaves, toothed on the edges. Leaves are hairy and alternately arranged on the stem.
Millet produces miniature flowers arranged in spikes (type of inflorescence composed of large number of individual flowers without stalks).
Fruit of millet are grains. Kernels are miniature, obovate, globular, hexagonal, elliptical or lanceolate in shape. They can be white, yellow, grey or red in color.
Some of the best known and most widely used types of millet are: pearl millet, foxtail millet, proso millet and finger millet.
Millet is rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins of the B group, calcium, iron and magnesium.
Millet can be consumed as part of breakfast cereals, in the form of porridge or as an ingredient of soups, stews and breads. Finger millet is a type of millet that can be popped and turned into popcorn-like snack. Candied puffs of millet are traditionally prepared and consumed in Japan for at least 1000 years.
Flour made of millet is popular in India and Africa. It doesn't contain gluten and it cannot be used for the preparation of raised breads (unless it is mixed with flour made of wheat).
Millet is recommended for gluten-sensitive person (people diagnosed with celiac disease).
Millet acts beneficially on the function of muscles and nerves and regulates blood sugar level (in diabetics). It also soothes inflammations.
Millet is used for the preparation of fermented alcoholic beverages in Asia and Africa.
Green leaves and early tillers of millet are used as animal fodder in Asia. Some types of millet are cultivated as grazing crops for sheep and cattle. Millet is used mostly as food for birds in America.
Stem of millet is used as roofing material for the houses in Africa. Seed of millet are often used as fillers for the multipurpose bean bags.
India is the greatest manufacturer of millet in the world. It produces more than 8.8 million metric tons of millet annually.
Millet is an annual plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in one year.

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