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What Is Sorghum?

Sorghum is a kind of cereal. In fact, it ranks among the top 5 cereal crops in the world (the other four as wheat, corn, barley and oats).

Sorghum is endemic to Africa, and was first grown by the Egyptians. Though it is now found in all parts of the globe, Africa continues to be the world’s largest exporter of this valued crop.

Sorghum grows up to two meters tall, though horticulturists have developed a dwarf breed that tends to be easier to harvest. This cereal is known to be quite hardy and can grow in the most difficult conditions, including time of drought. In fact, when the lack of rain had rendered the African landscape almost barren, they turned to sorghum as their key source of nutrition.

Sorghum grains are very red and hard and are dried after harvesting to allow for longer storage time. Another variety, sweet sorghum, is used to make syrup. However, the stalks (not the seeds) are used—beaten and crushed (similar to sugar cane) then cooked down.

Sorghum grains are excellent animal feeds. Sometimes they are also processed into other products, such as adhesives and papers.

Today, however, sorghum is gaining popularity among people who are gluten intolerant. It can be made into a porridge—a traditional way of cooking it—or processed into tofu-like cakes. Due to its mild, and actually very neutral flavor, it can be used as a replacement for meat in many dishes. Health-conscious individuals also like the high nutritional value of sorghum, which contains lots of protein, iron and fiber.

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