Teff is one of our pride and joys at Bob’s Red Mill, but many folks aren’t yet familiar with this precious grain. We want give teff the spotlight today with this What Is It? Wednesday feature! Let's get right to it:
What is teff? Teff is the tiniest grain in the world. Its name even comes from the Amharic word for “lost” because it’s so small it’s easy to lose! It grows in several shades including brown, white and red. Like all whole grains, it contains a germ, bran, and endosperm, but most of the teff’s volume is germ and bran–the most nutritious parts! Teff is a very resilient grain that can grow in a variety of conditions including high or low elevation and wet or dry lands. Teff is also known as lovegrass.
For Bob's Red Mill, it's one of the shining stars of our Grains of Discovery® line. Gluten free, whole grain, and full of potential. But we'll get to that . . .
Where does teff come from? (Does our package above give it away?) Teff has been grown in Ethiopia and Eritrea for thousands of years, with some estimates dating back as far as 4000 BC! Native Idahoan Wayne Carlson began the teff-growing industry in the United States, planting the crop in Idaho near the Snake River Valley. Teff grows as flowing locks of grass as pictured below. We source our teff from US farmers.
Is teff gluten free? Yes! The grain is inherently gluten free and we process it in our dedicated gluten free facility, so it’s tested and confirmed gluten free in our in-house laboratory. Celiac-safe!
Is teff healthy? Teff is a nutritional powerhouse! Don’t let its teensy-weensy size fool you: teff has many beneficial nutrients*:
- Contains all of the essential amino acids and offers 7g of protein per serving
- Good source of dietary fiber (16% daily value)
- Excellent source of iron (20% DV)
- Good source of calcium (10% DV)
- A comparable glycemic index (74) to sorghum (72) and oats (71)
What does teff taste like? Teff has an earthy, nutty flavor. Lighter varieties have milder taste.
How do you cook with teff? Teff grain makes an excellent side dish, hearty porridge, and adds a delicious pop when added to soups and stews. Check out our site for more ideas and recipes like teff bread, cakes, puddings and more. You'll also find the recipe for how to make this Teff Stew (Wat).
What about teff flour? Because teff is so tiny, not many folks can stone mill it into a fine flour for baking. At Bob’s Red Mill, we’ve perfected the art! Visit our teff flour product page for more information and for recipe ideas, including a recipe for Ethiopian injera, shown below, which is a gluten free flat bread made with fermented teff flour. Personally, I love adding teff to my pancake and waffle recipes. Give it a try!
Now that you have been introduced to your new favorite grain, get cooking and share your favorite recipe below!
*Baye, Kaleab. “Teff: nutrient composition and health benefits.” Ethiopia Strategy Support Program. International Food Policy Research Institute. Sept 2014.