Move over, quinoa, there’s a new kid on the gluten-free-grain block, and it’s called teff. Teff is an ancient whole grain native to Ethiopia, and, like other grains, it can be used as a porridge base or ground into flour.
Now Pereg Natural Foods offers teff in two varieties: brown and ivory. Each quarter-cup serving is about 180 calories and is packed with protein and fiber. It’s certified OU kosher and is non-GMO, all natural, gluten-free, vegan, and Whole Grain Council-approved.
Pereg Natural Foods teff grains are packaged in 16-oz. resealable bags ($5.99) and 5-oz. boxes ($4.80), and are available to food buyers, distributors, and food service. Pereg Natural Foods products are sold at supermarkets, specialty stores, and natural food stores nationwide.
“Aside from being gluten-free, teff is higher in protein than wheat, and it’s high in iron, calcium, and amino acids. It has a pleasantly sweet nutty flavor and the seeds are very tiny, making it easy to digest. Each tiny grain of teff contains both the bran and germ, where all the nutrients live. One cup of cooked teff contains all the daily iron recommended by the USDA. Our teff porridge is easy to prepare, and is a great alternative to other cereals,” says Gill Schneider, president and CEO of Pereg.
In addition, teff can be used in alternative ways for cooking and baking. Pereg offers gluten-free teff flour available in 16-oz. zip-top bags (MSRP: $5.99). It can be substituted in an almost one-to-one ratio for whole-grain gluten flours. Teff can also be toasted to add crunch to a salad, or to make gluten-free pancakes and waffles.
According to the Whole Grains Council, teff is thought to have made its debut in the human diet around 4000 B.C. in what is today the country of Ethiopia. Ethiopians obtain approximately two-thirds of their dietary protein from teff. The ultra-tiny grain, smaller even than a chia seed, is what Ethiopia’s famously competitive long-distance runners credit for their energy and stamina.
The tiny size of the teff grain, which can appear dark-reddish-brown to yellowish-brown to ivory, made it the ideal food for the semi-nomadic life common throughout Ethiopian history. Only a handful of the seed will sow an average-size field whether waterlogged or dry, thus making teff a dependable staple no matter the environmental conditions.
Despite its tiny size, teff leads all other grains, gluten-free or not, in calcium by a wide margin. It also has high levels of magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, choline, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, thiamin, pantothenic Acid, and riboflavin.
Teff’s biggest health benefit, however, may be in its unique type of starch. Teff is high in resistant starch, a special type of dietary fiber only recently getting much attention from the research community. Resistant starch benefits blood-sugar management, weight control, and overall health of the large intestine. Up to 40% of the carbohydrates in teff are composed of resistant starches.
Pereg Natural Foods was established in 1906, and is based in Clifton, NJ. They first became known for their vast variety of pure and natural spices and spice blends, more than 60 in all, from traditional favorites to exotics from around the culinary world.
In addition to spices, Pereg is a leading producer of premium ancient grains, gluten-free flours, and an extensive line of quinoa and couscous products. They manufacture all their products from start to finish, controlling the quality from the sourcing until the product is packed and ready for the consumer.
All Pereg products are kosher certified by both the Orthodox Union (OU) and CRC, are dairy and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives. Many products are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO. Pereg Natural Foods products are available at select retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada, and on www.pereg-gourmet.com.
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