Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I have some field corn coming on -- various types -- for later grindings as I had trouble getting polenta.

And I love polenta. The world of grits yay!

Anyway I became interested in Millet as a cover crop  but I soon found millet -- Pearl Millet--was difficult to obtain unless you haunt Indian groceries.

But I did get some and am ready to plant some. Once you have millet growing you probably will always have millet growing. The birds will love you for it too.

Since I got a kilogram we ate some for dinner and en route to the stove I discovered the wonderful world of millet based foods. Very impressive is millet as a grain to eat and enjoy.

It is nutritionally superior to many of our common grains, containing more essential amino acids than wheat, oats, rice, barley, and rye.

No gluten too...and a lot cheaper than Quinoa.

And get this, Brisbanites!

Pearl millet is well adapted to growing areas characterized by drought, low soil fertility, and high temperature. It performs well in soils with high salinity or low pH. Because of its tolerance to difficult growing conditions, it can be grown in areas where other cereal crops, such as maize or wheat, would not survive. Pearl millet is a summer annual crop well-suited for double cropping and rotations.

Needless to say, Millet is easy to grow.

Pearl millet, for example, is grown on over 70 million acres worldwide, an area larger than all the wheat fields combined in the U.S.

I got my millet from 2Brothers in Perth because their price was great....but then I often get my Masa Harina from Melbourne (off a boat from Mexico). Even then I have to shop around as supplies are fickle.

I mention this as I suspect I may be also be embracing Millet as a  regular grain for home consumption. So I fret about supplies.

(Indian Pearl Millet is twice the price of the local stock I purchased. I mention this because you should always be quarantine aware. But at $3 per kilogram -- who is going to protest the local product.)

I reckon millet would make a great roadside verge crop. Ready to plant anywhere. And, if tucker beckons, you know how many 'pearls' sit upon a millet head. You probably don't -- but there's a ready feed from a small harvest when you have millet growing

Then there's millet as a cover crop.It's an excellent weed suppressor & fast growing.

For an investigative and fascinating discussion on Pearl Millet's wonders, go here for free book or chapters.

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Without thinking it through I purchased some unhulled millet and have been eating that. 'Tis a bit chewy and I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong.

Dumb me. I purchased the millet to plant and the eating thereof was a follow up intention.

Tasted great though. Quite edible if soaked then pressure cooked.

Well, in the gastronomical norm, it should be 'hulled' before cooking. This is why you buy Hulled Millet for consumption.

To de-hull it yourself:

  1. Soak the millet in water for 15 minutes
  2. Dry the millet by laying the seeds  out on a cloth.
  3. Pulse grind until the husks separate (Or use a mortar and pestle as in image)
  4. Winnow in the air
  5. Voila!

Of course, you need to buy unhulled Millet to plant out in your garden -- so if you want to kill two birds in one you need to know how to remove them hulls. Waste not/Want not.

Collect the husks to make your own snooze pillow or a heat pack!

Why bother to hull millet -- or even eat it at all? Taste and texture. It's a gregarious party in your mouth with a great nutritional wallop. 

Poultry have been having all the fun...

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