How Do I Choose the Best Millet?

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  • Written By: G. D. Palmer
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2020
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Millet is a type of tiny-seeded cereal grain historically eaten throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. You can find it in health food stores and the specialty section of some large grocery stores, sold either pre-packaged or by the pound. Look for pre-hulled, light yellow or brown seeds of about the same size and shape, without many broken grains. This tiny round grain should have a faint starchy odor, but should never smell musty or stale. Buy only grain that has been kept in a cool, dry place, and avoid packages that have been close to heat or sunlight. This food lacks gluten, and is appropriate for people who cannot tolerate this substance.

This grain comes in many different types, but most stores in North America and Europe sell pearl millet, which is the most widely-grown species. These seeds are a traditional staple food in parts of India, China, and Russia, as well as in East Africa and in Germany and other European countries, where they are usually eaten in the form of porridge. Millet is less common as a commercial grain than in the past, especially in North America where it is primarily sold as birdseed.


You can still buy this grain from specialty retailers, such as health food stores, as well as from some larger grocery stores. This grain may be sold either in individually-sealed packages or by weight from bulk bins. Pre-packaged seeds tend to be somewhat more expensive, but are less likely to be contaminated by other grains.

When buying millet, look for small, round grains of approximately equal size and shape for more even cooking. Avoid packages that contain large numbers of broken or discolored grains. You should choose pre-hulled products, as the inedible hull can be hard to remove at home, and buy pre-washed grain whenever possible, as this reduces the risk of a bitter flavor. Do not buy any package that smells stale or has a disagreeable musty odor, as the whole grain inside may be spoiled. Avoid millet that has been stored in direct sunlight, close to a heater, or in damp conditions.

Those with Celiac disease and other people with gluten intolerance can use millet and millet flour instead of other grains, but must make their purchases carefully. When sold in bulk bins, this grain can become contaminated with traces of wheat, which may cause an uncomfortable reaction. Those with gluten sensitivities should choose only pre-packaged millet that has not been packaged on equipment that also processes wheat.


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What combinations utilize millet varieties along with wheat for a highly nutritious, stomach-filling food with RDA?

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