Monday, April 15, 2013

Eat Your Birdseed!

One day recently while shopping for some gluten free foods, my daughter found a bag of puffed millet in the cereal section.  She's always been a very adventurous eater, and wanted to try it.  Puffed millet?  Are you sure?  She was sure, so we bought it.

The only thing I really knew about millet is that it's a major component of birdseed.  Birds really like it, but I wasn't sure I would.  I was kind of afraid to try it, but my daughter wasn't.  She decided to have it for a snack, so poured herself a bowl of it, and proceeded to eat it dry.  She said it tasted like popcorn!

It looks a bit like puffed rice cereal, only smaller.  It smells kind of like puffed rice also.  I still wasn't brave enough to try it.

I decided to do a little bit of research and discovered that there are several varieties of millet, and they are grasses that produce the small seeds so popular with birds.  Turns out it's not just used for birdseed at all, but is an important food source for people in places like Asia and Africa.  Considered a healthful whole grain, it is gluten free and therefore safe for people with celiac disease (like myself), or other wheat allergies.  They are hard little seeds, so millet needs to be cooked, ground, or puffed (like the cereal we found), before it can be easily digested by people.

So, I got brave and tried our puffed millet. You know what?  I like it!  It has a sort of nutty flavor, similar to plain popcorn and puffed rice.  It's really good with some almond milk, a few sliced strawberries and a touch of sugar.

Since trying the puffed millet, I got even more brave and tried some whole grain gluten free bread that's made with millet (among other things).  It's pretty tasty, too.  It's about as tasty as gluten free bread can be, and much better than the plain white gluten free breads.  I think this new bread is a keeper as well.

Go ahead, eat your birdseed!  It's yummy!

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