Finger Millet Finger millet is a seeded annual cereal which belongs to the grass family, Poaceae. The height of a mature plant ranges from 30-150 cm in the cool, high-altitude regions of Africa and Asia, where it is grown for its seeds. The seeds, which may be white, light brown, or dark brown, are consumed in a variety of forms including as unleavened bread made from milled flour. Various types of porridge and alcoholic beverages are also prepared from the seeds.
Eleusine coracana, or finger millet is an annual herbaceous plant widely grown as a cereal crop in the arid and semiarid areas in Africa and Asia.
It is a tetraploid and self-pollinating species probably evolved from its wild relative Eleusine africana. Finger millet is native to the Ethiopian and Ugandan highlands. Interesting crop characteristics of finger millet are the ability to withstand cultivation at altitudes over 2000 m above sea level, its high drought tolerance, and the long storage time of the grains.
Where it is found Cultivated finger millet was domesticated about 5 000 years ago from the wild subspecies in the highlands that range from Ethiopia to Uganda. Domesticated finger millet was then also farmed in the lowlands of Africa. This was introduced into India around 3 000 years ago, with the result that India is now a secondary centre of diversity for finger millet.
How to eat it: Finger Millet Pancake Ingredients: 1 cup of finger millet flour, 1 medium red onion, finely diced, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons of peanuts (or peanut butter), 1 teaspoon of salt (for taste), 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 cup of water. Optional: 1 teaspoon of curry powder. Preparation: In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry diced onions till light brown. Add pepper and curry powder and fry for a minute. Add 1 cup of finger millet flour, salt, peanuts and fried onions to a dry bowl, and mix well. Add the water and knead the dough. One can make them either to the consistency of pancake batter or bread batter. Heat a skillet. Spread the batter in skillet and cook till brown. Makes six portions.
Special qualities: (a) gluten-free; (b) high in calcium and iron; (c) can be stored for up to two years without harmful pesticides, acting as a food reserve during the lean season; (d) excellent malting qualities, increasing its use in food processing.
Importance for small scale farmers: (a) can be used in intercropping systems (with maize, sorghum and/or legumes) to generate extra income; (b) produces reasonable yields under low input crop production systems; (c) survives on soils of low fertility.
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Red Millet Pancake
Domestication of Eleusine coracana Khidir W. Hilu and J. M. J. de Wet
Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Unique Relationships Among Eleusine Species and Heritage of Eleusine coracana.