Saturday, August 10, 2013

What is Sorghum?

Sorghum growing in a field.
  • Sorghum plant looks like a corn plant - but it's not corn.

  • Sorghum is a gluten-free grain.

  • It is sometimes referred to as broomcorn.

While riding through the countryside, my son noticed what appeared to be a field of corn. He said "Hey Mom, that looks like corn but it looks funny at the top. Is it some kind of corn hybrid?" I answered, "It's not corn."

I knew it wasn't corn and I thought it was used as cattle feed, but I was not certain. I couldn't recall the name Sorghum at the time but the discussion lead me do a little searching. 

Sorghum leaves do look similar to corn. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as broomcorn. It is used as fodder for cattle and poultry, and in the production of alcoholic beverages. But it is also used for people food.

Close-up of sorghum grain on plant.
Sorghum is a gluten free grain. A research team at the University of Georgia has found that bran from a few varieties of commonly grown sorghum has greater antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties than well-known fruits such as blueberries and pomegranates.

Sorghum is an African plant that can be whipped up into a sweet-tasting flour and turned into a sticky syrup, too. Any plant that can make both pancakes and syrup gets my attention.

A study was co-authored by Diane Hartle, director of the UGA Nutraceutical Research Laboratory and associate professor in the College of Pharmacy; James Hargrove, associate professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences; and Phillip Greenspan, associate professor in the UGA College of Pharmacy and the results appear in the current issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food.

Read more here:

According to the study, "levels of polyphenolic compounds in the high-tannin sorghum varieties ranged from 23 to 62 mg of polyphenols per gram. For comparison, blueberries contain approximately 5 mg of polyphenolics per gram, while pomegranate juice contains 2 to 3.5 mg per gram".

I like Bob's Red Mill whole grain products, so I checked and they have Sorghum Flour.

I have never used Sorghum flour so I searched the web for a recipe and found this, it looks wonderful.

Best (Gluten Free) Bread EVER
Best (Gluten Free) Bread EVER
Get the recipe here:


Sorghum Grain
Then I thought  what can I do with the  plain grain?

Turns out you cook it like we in the south cook our white rice. Just like I do my Spanish rice dish, you need to toast the sorghum in a dry pan until it’s slightly fragrant and golden. This will enhance the flavor. Use 1/2 cup sorghum.

Then, just cook your grain for about 30 minutes in  2 cups of water. Season with salt, pepper, herbs or even grated cheese. You will need to use water at a 4 to 1 ratio. (1 cup Sorghum to 4 cups water)


You can also pop your sorghum like we pop corn but it will be much smaller than popcorn.  Just pour a layer of dried grain in the bottom of a pan with a little oil, cover, turn on the heat and wait until you hear light little pings speed up and slow down in the pot.

I also found these baking mixes...apparently sorghum flour is not used as a stand alone ingredient.


Baking Mixes

Cookie Mix
1 3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour

Makes 2 cups

General Baking Mix
1/3 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup garfava bean flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup tapioca starch/flour

Makes 3 cups

Whisk together and store, tightly covered, in a dark, dry place.

Sorghum Blend

1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
1 1/2 cups potato starch or cornstarch
1 cup tapioca flour

Makes 4 cups

Whisk together and store, tightly covered, in a dark, dry place.

Source: Bette Hagman,

Check out the following video on how to make Sorghum Syrup:

If any of you have been using sorghum please let me know know how you use it.

Leave a comment below.

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