5: Teff

Teff means ‘lost’, so called because of its tiny 1-millimetre diameter grain. Yet about a kilo of grains is enough to sow a 1-hectare field – about 100 times less seed than is needed for wheat – and it cooks quickly. This lovegrass thrives in a vast variety of environments – from sea level to high altitudes, from dry to waterlogged land – and is also resistant to disease. Thought to have been first domesticated in Ethiopia 6,000 years ago, teff is made into a spongy flat bread, injera, used as an edible plate in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Today, its fame is spreading because of its nutrient value: it is almost as high in protein as quinoa, contains the highest calcium of all grains and also provides Vitamin C. Today, teff is being cultivated in Australia, Canada, India and the USA, where it is used in breads, pancakes and other products, and its potential for other parts of the world is being investigated.

(c) Stefan Auth / imagebroker/Still Pictures/ Specialiststock.com

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