Ancient grains have become increasingly popular in recent years. Farro dishes and quinoa recipes are becoming commonplace, but do you know about sorghum? It might not be as well-known, but it definitely packs a punch when it comes to nutrients and versatility.
What Is Sorghum?
Growing tall with broad leafs just like corn, this grain is popular in the South because it easily grows in dry climates, which corn does not agree with. States with hot climates such as Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colorado are the top five producers of this grain, where it is typically harvested in September and October.
Sorghum, which originates in Egypt, is also the least expensive grain to cultivate because it is so adaptable to climates that other grains might not agree with. It falls into the ancient grains category—a family of grains that have been “virtually” or “practically” unchanged since they were first harvested centuries ago, and are also flexible in the kitchen.
Not only is sorghum non-GMO, gluten-free and sustainable, it has an impressive nutritional profile, too. Each 3/4 cup of cooked sorghum packs five grams each of protein and fiber, plus iron, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin and vitamin B6. Sorghum is also able to retain all of these nutrients, because it does not have an inedible hull like other grains.
How Can I Use It?
Sorghum can be used in everything from salads to baked goods and even cocktails! It can be used as a substitute for wheat flour when baking, but will need a binding agent like cornstarch or xanthan gum since it is gluten-free, like in these gluten-free banana muffins.
As a general rule of thumb when cooking, add four cups of water or stock to one cup of sorghum, bring to a boil and simmer for 25-40 minutes. Prefer a lighter texture or nuttier taste? Lightly roast your sorghum in a dry skillet before cooking, and leave them alone without stirring while they cook to maintain a fluffy texture that’s not sticky.
How About Sorghum Syrup?
Sorghum is also made into a molasses-like syrup, used for sweetening baked goods and drinks. Both dark-hued and sweet, sorghum syrup is made from the crushed and boiled down stalks, leaving us with a thinner syrup, perfect for using in place of molasses in sweet and sticky molasses recipes. Just cut the amount of sugar if you’re using sorghum instead, since it can be sweeter! Store your syrup like you would honey–at room temperature, and if it becomes too thick or crystallizes, place it in a pan of warm water to thin it out.
Whether you want to make a grain salad or have a sweet treat, the possibilities of using sorghum in your kitchen are endless, and definitely worth exploring!