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Millet, or millet, has long won a prominent place both in agriculture and in other areas, such as cosmetology and traditional medicine. What is the reason for such popularity and how to get the most out of this cereal crop - read in our article.
Where does millet grow and what does millet look like
Herbaceous annuals, reaching 1.5 m and having a well-developed root system, hollow cylindrical branched stems with weak pubescence and long lanceolate leaves - this is the classic representative of millet belonging to the bluegrass family. In cereals, it is also worth noting a drooping, highly branched panicle inflorescence, capable of accounting for almost a third of the length of the entire plant. At the end of the branches - one spikelet. In one ear - two self-pollinating flowers, and by the end of the growing season, the plant acquires fruits. The fruit is a rounded kernel, its diameter is about 2 mm. The color of the fetus can vary from white and yellow to red and black. Millet ripenes in July-August, that is, the growing season during planting in early summer lasts 60-90 days.
The birthplace of common millet is considered to be India and China, but today the plant can be found on almost the entire territory of arid and semi-arid regions. Wild millet can grow at an altitude of 2.5 to 3 km above sea level high in the mountains. Millet is cultivated in central Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, in many Asian countries - Mongolia, China, Pakistan (the share in world production is 55%), as well as in Africa in Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, Ethiopia, etc. (share in world production - about 25%).
Description of the types and useful properties of millet
In addition to ordinary, or sowing, millet, only one species is cultivated on the territory of the Russian Federation - capitate millet (Italian). However, there are other types of millet that are different in characteristics: teff (dwarf), African, southern (small), blood, Japanese, etc.
Capitate millet grown, in contrast to ordinary, not as a grain crop, but as a forage. Grain differs from other species in the structure of the panicle: it has a pronounced main shaft and short lateral branches in the form of blades with thin bristles on the surface.
The hallmark of millet Japanese - This is an oval, pointed or pyramidal shape of a panicle with a pointed tip. There are 2 flowers on the spikelets, one full, and the other an embryo.
African look - grown in the arid tropics in India and Burma. A characteristic feature is a powerful rhizome that goes into the ground more than 3 m and cylindrical inflorescences.
As for the medicinal properties of millet, the following can be attributed to them:
- Due to the high content of potassium and fiber, millet grain acts as a lipotropic agent that activates metabolic processes in the body;
- Magnesium contributes to the expansion of blood vessels, so it is recommended to use millet to lower blood pressure;
- Millet ordinary - an effective remedy against the accumulating toxins and toxins;
- It is recommended to take millet for those who want to accelerate the healing process of wounds or bone fusion;
- Anemia is the worst enemy of millet because it stimulates blood formation;
- Grain slows the development of breast tumors and heals the kidneys;
- The diuretic effect of millet is described even in ancient writings (Avicenna).
What is the difference between millet and millet
The essence of these two names is the same - they denote the same cereal crop, however, there is a difference. It lies in the processing method: the fact is that millet is usually called millet grains that have undergone grinding, that is, they have no upper skin. Thus, millet is yellowish balls familiar to our eyes, and millet is a “raw” brown product.
The reason for processing grain is the need to reduce the critical content of manganese, which in large quantities is absorbed worse by the body.
The benefits and harms of common millet
Useful properties due to the rich biochemical composition of millet have been proven both experimentally and in practice. What benefits can millet grain bring to the body? Due to the high protein content in combination with the almost complete absence of simple sugars, millet porridge is indicated for overweight and vegetarians.
Millet is easily absorbed by the body and removes antibiotics from it, while significantly increasing immunity, therefore it is strongly recommended that people who have undergone a course of medicine eat it for at least a week after recovery.
Another useful feature of millet is the ability to positively affect the elasticity of the skin and other tissues, strengthen bones, hair and nail plates. This is due to the cereal content in its composition of a large amount of silicon.
Despite the whole range of positive effects on a person’s condition, millet is not recommended for certain categories of people. First of all, these are the rare “lucky ones” who are allergic to millet grain. It is also not recommended to abuse cereal for people suffering from acute diseases of the intestinal tract, for example, a stomach ulcer (will cause heartburn); also millet is contraindicated in pregnant women. Under conditions of normal tolerance, an overdose of millet is fraught with a decrease in potency and a general deterioration in well-being.
The healing properties of millet
Millet is the second largest Russian groat after buckwheat. What is the secret of her enduring popularity?
Useful properties of millet porridge
Millet is one of the most easily digestible cereals, standing along with buckwheat porridge and rice. Despite the fact that millet groats are slightly inferior to their relatives in the degree of amino acid content and nutritional value, however, it has a number of advantages over many cereal crops. The culture contains active substances such as starch, proteins, potassium, magnesium, soluble fats, sugars, fiber, trace elements, vitamins PP, B1 and B2. Another feature of millet porridge is its high copper content.superior even to fish and meat and second only to the liver.
Millet does not contain gluten, so it is suitable for those who follow a gluten-free diet. Millet porridge is prescribed for regular use to people with diseases of the heart and blood vessels, suffering from atherosclerosis, cystitis, constipation, anemia and diseases of the nervous system.
How to cook porridge from millet groats
For millet, you should choose only fresh grain, since millet grains are the most short-lived ones, they quickly lose their shape and acquire a bitter taste. The technology for preparing millet includes the following steps:
- Rinse millet several times to such an extent that it does not make the water cloudy;
- Before cooking, you can optionally bake millet in a skillet or scald with boiling water - so the likelihood of bitterness of the prepared dish will be eliminated;
- The ingredients are taken in the following proportions: 1 part cereal and 3 parts water. With an increase in the proportion of water, a more viscous consistency will be obtained, and with a decrease, it will become friable;
- The cooking process itself can be organized in two ways: either keep the pan on fire until the water has completely evaporated (about 25-30 minutes), or cook porridge for 15-20 minutes, and then insist in a wrapped state for an hour.
The resulting dish is ideal for breakfast if you add sugar, butter or a little honey to the porridge.
The use of millet in cosmetology
Millet groats more than once rescued those who want to preserve their beauty and youth: zinc, calcium, iron, copper and vitamins contained in millet grains have earned millet a worthy place in many cosmetics.
As a rule, millet extract is included as the main active substance in agents that help in the fight against baldness, poorly healing wounds, oily skin and age wrinkles. Since millet is a practically hypoallergenic product, therapeutic anti-aging cosmetic lines are produced on its basis, designed for people prone to allergic manifestations.
Millet as a forage crop
Millet rich in vitamins and starch has long been included in the diet of many animal groups.that are bred in agriculture. It should be noted that both the grains themselves and the straw are used. So, for which animals is millet best suited?
- Cattle and sheep feed on young millet sown on pastures, and roughage from straw;
- Millet fits perfectly into the diet of poultry, especially chickens. However, today any grain feed for poultry is made on its basis with the addition of elements with a high protein content, which millet, unfortunately, is not so rich.
How millet is grown
Millet is an agricultural crop, therefore, among agronomists a standard has long been established according to which this plant should be grown. The main requirements of the annual to the conditions are a rather high and stable temperature (from 18 to 25 ° C), the absence of frosts, loose, rich in organic soil (chernozem) and timely fertilizer with nitrogen or phosphorus.
It should be noted that millet ordinary as a species has only spring forms. Its strengths are drought tolerance, low soil requirements and the ability to produce large crops in a relatively short time. Disadvantages - slow growth at the beginning of the life cycle, low frost resistance, susceptibility to disease.
How to cook millet porridge
In order to get a good crop of millet, agronomists take into account not only temperature indicators, soil characteristics and the mode of fertilizing, but also pay attention to what crops grew on the field before. Ideal precursors for millet are potatoes and other vegetables, winter crops, sugar beets. It is strictly forbidden to sow millet grains on the ground where corn used to grow, since these crops are from the same family, which means they are affected by the same weeds and pests. It is recommended to sow the plant again on the same plot with a break of at least 6 years.
Sowing is carried out from the beginning of April to the end of June, the main condition is the established weather and the absence of the threat of frost. Since seed germination is not one hundred percent, it is recommended to use seed only of the 1st (highest) category.
Mowing millet begin when maturing at least 75% of all grains. The remaining fruits may ripen after the harvesting procedure.
Millet is an indispensable cereal in the household and cooking, which, among other things, has a lot of medicinal properties, so the decision to include such a product in your diet will only benefit you.