Teff  (Eragrostis tef) is a self-pollinated, annual, warm season grass that is used throughout the world as grain for human consumption and as forage for livestock. The amount of teff produced is increasing rapidly due to the plant’s popularity as an especially nutritious grain and as high-quality hay.

The word teff means “lost” because of the small size of the grain (teff seed is the smallest grain in the world). The grain is still a major component of the diet of millions of individuals from northeast Africa and Asian countries. Cultivated in Ethiopia and Eritrea from anywhere between 4000—1000 BC , teff is best known as the main ingredient in the Horn of Africa’s spongy, sour injera flatbread. Fermentation actually gives injera its signature flavor and texture, not teff itself, which on its own has a mild and nutty flavor. The poppy seed-sized grain punches far above its weight nutritionally, providing up to two-thirds the protein and nutrients in a daily Ethiopian diet. It’s no wonder why they call teff Ethiopia’s second gift to the world (the first being coffee).

Teff grain can be ground into flour, which is used to make injera amongst other things. It is also used as a porridge, similar to cream of wheat or fermented to make an alcoholic beverage.

Teff grain does not contain gluten and is increasingly becoming an important dietary component for individuals who suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac disease.

Teff contains albumins, the primary protein in blood plasma, making it a good alternative to eggs for vegetarians and vegans.

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