#BlackHistoryEats / Day 04 / Millet

Photo Credit: www.lovefoodeat.com

Photo Credit: www.lovefoodeat.com


  • Millet is actually a name given to a group of small seed grass grains that have been traditionally eaten by humans and animals; there are more than 500 varieties of millet in the world
  • Some of the most popular are pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum), finger millet (Eleusine coracana), proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), fonio millet (Digitaria exillis) and foxtail millet (Setaria italic)
  • Historically, millet has primarily grown and West Africa and parts of India
  • There is biblical reference to millet in the Hebrew Bible
  • Enslaved Africans used millet in a similar way that they used corn meal and regularly made bread and cakes from it
  • From an agricultural perspective, millet grows well as a cover crop (a crop that helps provide nitrogen to the oil and to other crops as well as reduce erosion and suppress weed growth)
  • Millet is sometimes called "Guinea corn" in Guinea and throughout West Africa


  • Millet is a great source of magnesium (which is known for helping with asthma and migraines. It is also important for women's reproductive health)
  • Like most unrefined grains, millet is naturally gluten-free and very high in fiber (which can help prevent type 2 diabetes)
  • Great source of healthy fats and energy packed B vitamins 
  • 1 cup = roughly 6g of protein


  • Millet is often prepared in the same way that other grains (i.e. rice, quinoa, sorghum etc.) 
  • I enjoy preparing my millet in a homemade vegetable broth or in coconut millet. It can be made into a savory dish with lots of onions, garlic, and hearty food vegetables and/or mushrooms or make into thick porridge with tons of allspice and toasted coconut flakes
  • Hausa koko is a popular spicy, fermented porridge recipe made by the Hausa people (one of the largest ethnic tribes in Africa based mostly in Nigeria but also elsewhere in Gabon, Sudan, West Africa an in other regions)
  • Finger millet in particular has often been used in many countries in Africa to make fermented beverages like beer and in Ethiopia it's used to make a liquor called 'arake'
  • Like most grains, it is best to wash/pre-soak millet a few times before cooking