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Facts on Teff

Teff or Tef (Eragrostis tef) is a species of lovegrass native to northeastern Africa. It is similar to millet in nutrition and in cooking, but the seed is much smaller.

Teff is an important food grain in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is used to make injera, and more or less in India and Australia. Because of its small seeds (less than 1 mm diameter), one can hold enough to sow an entire field in one hand. This property makes teff particularly suited to a seminomadic lifestyle.

Common Names include Teff, Lovegrass, Annual Bunch Grass (English); Tef (Amharic); Tafi (Oromo; Taf (Tigrigna); Mil ethiopien (French). It is also written as Ttheff, Tteff, Thaff, Tcheff, Thaft, Tcheff (Anon. 1887). The word tef is thought to originate from the Amharic word teffa, which means "lost" (due to small size of the grain), or from the Arabic word tahf used by Semites in South Arabia.

Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 BC and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in an Egyptian pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC.

It is adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to water logged soil conditions. Maximum teff production occurs at altitudes of 1800 to 2100 m, growing season rainfall of 450 to 550 mm, with a temperature range of 10 to 27 Celsius. Teff is day length sensitive and flowers best during 12 hours of daylight.

Cultivation and uses
Teff has been widely cultivated and used in the countries of Ethiopia, India and its colonies, and Australia. Teff produces up to 2/3 of the total food provision of Ethiopia. The grain has a high concentration of different nutrients. This grain has a very high calcium content, and contains high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. A big advantage, according to Soil & Crop, is the fact that the iron from teff is easily absorbed by the body. It could thus enhance the performance of elite sportspeople. Teff is high in protein. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition (including all 8 essential amino acids for humans) and has lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Because of this variety, it stimulates the flora of the large intestine. Teff is high in carbohydrates and fiber. It contains no gluten, so it is appropriate for those with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease.

The cultivation of teff has been patented throughout Europe by Soil & Company.

In the Netherlands some farmers needed a new grain species and after a drink and the consultancy of an inventor's office, teff has been used and succeeded as a new grain. In 2003, 150 farmers were welcoming teff. By an estimation of S&C, in 2006 there could be 50 km? of this African grain in the Netherlands.

The Teff Company of Caldwell, Idaho has been growing teff and supplying the Ethio- and Eritrean-American communities for 25 years. They have demonstrated that teff is gluten-free, and are supplying the gluten-free market in the United States and Canada. The Teff Company has also been engaged in teff research with academic researchers, and has freely shared the information for the further development of teff (National Academy of Sciences). Teff has also been grown in limited quantities in South Dakota.

 

  Copyright © 2006 Andy's Market. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Teff".


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