Sorghum is one of the top cereal crops in the world, along with wheat, oats, corn, rice, and barley. It was originally cultivated in Egypt in antiquity; the largest producers of sorghum in the modern era are still in Africa, although the crop has spread to southern Asia and the Americas as well. In traditional form, sorghum is a towering plant over 6 feet (2 meters) tall, although many varieties designed for cultivation are dwarf breeds, specially designed for easy harvest. In Africa, however, traditional tall sorghum is still grown, and the stalks are put to a variety of uses.
An annual grass that is extremely drought tolerant, sorghum is an excellent choice for arid and dry areas. Sorghum has special adaptations to weather extremes and is a very stable source of nutrition as a result. It is most commonly red and hard when ripe and is usually dried after harvesting for longevity, as the grains are stored whole. It can be harvested mechanically, although higher crop losses will result if the sorghum is too moist.
Another type of sorghum, sweet sorghum, is grown for the manufacture of syrup. In the case of sweet sorghum, the stalks of the plant are harvested, rather than the seeds, and crushed like sugar cane or beets to produce sorghum syrup. After crushing, the syrup is cooked down to concentrate the natural sugars and packaged for sale...
Sorghum is favored by the gluten intolerant and is often cooked as a porridge to be eaten alongside other foods. The grain is fairly neutral in flavor, and sometimes slightly sweet. This grain is commonly eaten with the hull, which retains the majority of the nutrients. The plant is very high in fiber and iron, with a fairly high protein level as well. This makes it well suited to its use as a staple starch in much of the developing world.
Sorghum – The Versatile, Gluten-Free Whole Grain
May 13, 2011 — Did you know sorghum is a healthy whole grain? Not only is it good for you, but sorghum is also gluten-free, a food quality that is providing new market potential for growers...
The Sorghum Checkoff recently launched a new “microsite” aimed at educating consumers about sorghum’s value as a healthy, whole grain, gluten-free food option. The site, www.HealthySorghum.com, outlines the key nutritional components of sorghum, provides sorghum recipes, and lists useful information on how to cook with sorghum... Sorghum Farming
Sorghum is naturally high in fiber and iron. It is also rich in antioxidants, which are believed to help lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and some neurological diseases. It can also be used a healthy alternative to wheat for those with an intolerance to gluten. Currently, there are more than 3 million Americans with gluten intolerances, which creates an increasing demand for gluten-free food products like sorghum.