Popcorn is one of America’s favorite snacks. But did you know that a grain called sorghum can also be popped? Researchers at Texas A&M University recently released a new variety of this grain with excellent yield and superior popping quality.
Sorghum is the fifth most widely grown cereal grain in the world. It is a versatile crop grown to produce grain, forage, or syrup. It can also be used as a biofuel crop, because it’s very efficient in its photosynthesis and creates a large amount of biomass. In the United States, sorghum is predominantly used as animal feed in the form of grain or forage. In the past five years, U.S. interest in grain sorghum as a (human) food grain has increased. The grain is gluten-free, is not genetically modified, and some types are excellent sources of antioxidants. Even though it is a gluten-free grain, purchase brands that are explicitly labeled gluten-free because of its high risk for cross-contact with gluten-containing grains. As with other items, avoid buying it from bulk bins at the grocery store, since cross-contact can easily occur if other shoppers share scoops between the various bins.
The best way to ensure that your sorghum is safe is to purchase it from a company that labels it “gluten-free.” Some options include:
- Authentic Foods.
- Big River Grains
- Bob’s Red Mill
If you stick with a gluten-free-labeled sorghum source such as the ones listed above, you can reap the benefits of this very healthful grain without risking a reaction to gluten. And if you are looking for some gluten-free buttermilk biscuits check out this simple recipe.
Sorghum contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that make it an excellent dietary choice It is a good source of Protein, Iron, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorous. The starch and protein in popped sorghum is more digestible than in the un-popped grain. This could lead to an increase of popped sorghum flour-based products.
Popped sorghum is a popular snack in India, where it is called jowar dhani. It’s similar to popcorn but is much smaller. Not recommended for use in an air popper.
- 1/4 cup Sorghum Grain
- Toppings as desired
- Heat a pot with a tight fitting lid over medium heat. When hot, add sorghum grains and cover with lid. Cook, shaking pot often without removing the lid, until sorghum grains begin to pop. Once popping begins, shake pot continuously, leaving the lid in place.
- When 2/3 of the grains have popped, remove from heat and pour out the popped grains; return unpopped grains to heat and continue as above until most grains have popped. Remove from heat when there is more than 10 seconds between pops. Season with toppings as desired.
This gluten free grain is an excellent source of dietary fiber and a wonderful way to include the health benefits of whole grains in a gluten free diet. Unlike some gluten free grains, the hearty, chewy texture of whole grain sorghum is very similar to wheat berries, making it an ideal addition to pilafs and cold salads. Replace the noodles or white rice in soups with it for a more nutritious alternative. It has a relatively mild flavor, but it adds a gentle earthiness to dishes.