One of the earliest food plants, the small seeded grasses of millet can be found abundantly in most geographical terrains. Discovered and cultivated early on, it has found consumers in commercial industry to become the sixth most important grain globally.
The variety differs in their growth and colors. From being 1 to 15 feet tall, erect grass have hulls of different colors (gray, red, white, yellow) that contain the round, tiny, pale yellow seeds. From a culinary perspective, this seed – or grain – is used in either a ground form or whole. It is not without its multiple benefits that it has been labeled as one of the five sacred crops in ancient China. These include:
• Health Benefits – It is part of a healthy diet to improve health concerns for many. It has excellent nutritional value with high levels of phosphorous, copper, magnesium, manganese, calcium, fiber, antioxidants, and B vitamins.
This reduces their risk of cardiac or diabetic diseases, especially for postmenopausal women showing its symptoms. They can influence the cholesterol level and migraine attacks, and lower risk from type 2 diabetes. They also have a role in repairing and developing body tissue, prevent gallstones, significantly minimize chances of breast cancer, and work against asthma in children.
• Other Benefits – According to research that has been conducted so far, these would cover the fact that it is easily digested, is gluten-free, is alkaline in nature, and keeps the colon hydrated. It can soothe moods too. And the way it is able to grow fast just adds to its popularity.
The Different Varieties and their Consumption
Developing countries use about 90% of the millions of tones that is produced annually by countries all around the world. The Himalayan people use it frequently in their soups and breads, and as cereal. Where the Indians like it as roti and the Eastern Europe prefers it both in their kasha and porridge as well as fermented beverages, the Africans have it diversified from bread to baby food.
On the other hand, the developed countries like USA are more likely to buy it in wholesale as a superior feed for their cattle and birds. Primarily grown in mainland China, the Soviet Union, India, and Western Europe, the Proso millet are a major component in grain mixes for canaries, lovebirds, parakeets, finches, and cockatiels. Another type is also common to use when feeding wild birds too.
The light-colored white millet is usually scattered on ground or kept in low-set tray feeders in appropriate quantities for a single day to attract Native American sparrows, quails, juncos, doves, cardinals, and towhees. House Sparrows and cowbirds are attracted to it too.
The golden and red millet types are less available and less liked by birds. The demand in market, however, is expected to increase the yield and hence the birdseeds’ price in Ukraine