Teff also known as Eragrostis tef is a common cereal crop of Poaceae or Gramioneae family with small grains.
The plant is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC and can be grown over a very wide range of altitudes (sea level to 3,000 m).
Teff is now grown in India, Europe, Australia, Canada and America. Some of the popular common names of the plant are Williams’s love grass, annual bunch grass and taf, tef, teff, Abyssinian love grass, Ethiopian millet and Teff grass.
The plant is primarily cultivated cereal crop in Ethiopia with high market price and socio-economic values. There are many teff varieties, with special merits for production in different agro-ecologies.
The whitest grain color varieties are considered superior and have high market prices. Word teff originates from Amharic word “teffa” which means “lost”, due to incredible small size of grain (seed has 1/32 parts of inch in diameter).
It’s used in a similar way to quinoa, which is another popular health food. It cooks very quickly and can be used to make flour or bread.
What is Teff?:
Teff is made and grown in a way where it is used to make injera or keyta, and less so in India and Australia. It is now raised in the US, in Idaho and Nevada.
In addition to people from traditional teff-consuming countries, customers include those on gluten-restricted diets. Because of its small seeds (less than 1 mm diameter), a handful is enough to sow a large area.
This property makes teff particularly suited to a seminomadic lifestyle.
Teff is considered as a important food crop in Ethiopia and Eritrea, Africa, where it is mainly processed into different foods and beverages, such as breads, sweet unleavened bread, porridges, pancakes, biscuits, cookies, cakes, stir-fry dishes, casseroles, soups, stews and puddings.
The teff kernel is extremely small, perhaps the smallest amongst carbohydrate-rich grains, and it symbolizes an exceptional source of fiber and minerals, especially calcium and iron.
Due to its high fiber content and gluten-free status, teff is becoming a popular ingredient in many countries for the production of gluten-free foods, especially bakery products.