What Is Sorghum? A Unique Grain Reviewed (2022)

Though not everyone is familiar with sorghum, this cereal grain has been around for centuries. Sorghum belongs to the grass family Poaceae. It’s small, round, and usually white or pale yellow — though some varieties are red, brown, black, or purple.

Sorghum is the fifth most produced cereal crop in the world (1). It’s rich in natural nutrients and easy to add to your diet, but its merits don’t stop there. It’s also widely used as animal feed, and as a natural and cost-effective fuel source.

You can cook this grain like quinoa or rice, mill it into flour, or pop it like popcorn. It’s also converted into a syrup that’s used to sweeten many processed foods.

There are a lot of health benefits to eating whole grains like sorghum. This article covers the nutritional benefits and many uses of this very versatile grain.

summary

Sorghum is a cereal grain that’s widely produced around the world. Its whole grain is commonly used in baking, while its syrup is used as a sweetener. Finally, it’s used as a natural fuel source.

Sorghum comes in a few types, each of which has different uses. Grain sorghum is a grass that’s used to feed livestock and is made into flour for the food we eat. It comes in white, tan, orange, red, bronze, and black varieties.

Red, orange, and bronze sorghum is versatile enough to be used for everything from animal feed to fuel. Tan, cream, and white grain sorghum are made into flour for the food industry. Burgundy and black sorghum are especially high in antioxidants (2).

Onyx sorghum is a newer variety developed by researchers at Texas A&M University. The composition is related to ancient black and high-tannin sorghum varieties, and it’s designed to be super high in antioxidants.

These types of sorghum are used in recipes:

(Video) Is Sorghum a Healthy Grain?

  • Whole grain sorghum includes the entire grain, with all three parts — the bran, endosperm, and germ — intact. You can boil or steam the whole grain and add it to salads, side dishes, and pilafs.
  • Pearled grain sorghum is stripped of its bran and some of its germ. It’s softer than the whole grain variety, and it goes well in soups.
  • Sorghum syrup comes from the stalks of sweet sorghum. It’s a natural sweetener for baked goods and other desserts.
  • Popped sorghum is smaller, sweeter, and more nutrient-dense than popcorn. It also has fewer calories and less fat. But like popcorn, you can pop it in the microwave or on the stove.
summary

Sorghum comes in many colors and varieties. Some are used mainly for animal feed, while others can be incorporated into baked goods, side dishes, and other recipes.

Sorghum is an underrated, nutrient-rich cereal grain. Half a cup of uncooked sorghum (100 grams) provides (3):

  • Calories: 329
  • Protein: 11 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 72 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams

Sorghum is also a good source of the following micronutrients:

  • vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  • vitamin B6
  • copper
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • selenium
  • zinc
summary

Sorghum is a nutrient-rich cereal grain. It’s low in fat, but high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, and micronutrients.

Sorghum is rich in a variety of nutrients, including B vitamins, which play an essential role in metabolism, nerve cell development, and healthy hair and skin.

It’s also a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that’s important for bone formation, heart health, and over 600 biochemical reactions in your body, such as energy production and protein metabolism (4).

(Video) What is Sorghum? | MD F&H

In addition, sorghum is high in antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolic acids, and tannins. Eating a diet rich in these antioxidants can lower oxidative stress and inflammation in your body (5).

What’s more, half a cup of sorghum provides more than 7 grams of fiber, which is about 25% of the recommended daily fiber intake (3, 6). A diet rich in fiber helps to manage weight, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and prevent constipation.

Finally, this grain is a great source of plant-based protein. In fact, it provides as much protein as quinoa, a cereal grain renowned for its high protein content.

summary

Sorghum boasts an impressive nutrient profile. It’s a significant source of many vitamins and minerals, fiber, and protein, all of which contribute to good health.

Gluten is a group of proteins found in certain grains that gives food products a stretchy quality and structure.

With more people avoiding gluten for health reasons like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the demand for gluten-free products is on the rise (7, 8). Sorghum can be a good alternative to gluten-containing grains like wheat if you’re following paleo or another grain-free diet.

For those looking for a gluten-free grain, sorghum is a super healthy option. You can replace gluten-containing flour with sorghum in baked products like bread, cookies, or other desserts. This whole grain also works as a hearty side dish.

That said, sorghum products may be made in facilities that produce gluten-containing products. Be sure to check the label to ensure they’re made in a gluten-free facility.

summary

An increasing number of people can’t eat gluten because of disorders or sensitivity. Sorghum is naturally gluten-free, making it a good option if you’re avoiding gluten.

(Video) 2022 Grain Sorghum Weed Control

Similar to molasses, sorghum syrup is widely used as a sweetener in the food industry (9). Both products have a thick consistency and are dark brown, but they’re processed differently.

Both sorghum syrup and molasses are members of the Poaceae grass family, but the former comes from the juice of the sorghum plant, while the latter is derived from sugarcane.

Sorghum syrup is lower in total sugar but higher in fructose, making it sweeter than molasses. In recipes that call for molasses, you can generally replace it with sorghum syrup at a ratio of 1:1.

If you find it too sweet, use slightly less or add more liquid. But considering that many people may be consuming too much sugar, it’s worth consuming high sugar products in moderation (10).

summary

The color and consistency of sorghum syrup are similar to those of molasses. The syrup is made from the juice of sorghum, while molasses comes from sugarcane. You can usually replace molasses with sorghum syrup at a 1:1 ratio.

Sorghum is versatile and easy to add to a number of recipes.

(Video) Webinar: The Secret’s Out: Sorghum is the Sustainable Ancient Grain RDs are Buzzing About

The following are some ways you can enjoy it:

  • Replace rice or quinoa. You can cook whole grain and pearled sorghum much like you’d cook rice and quinoa.
  • Milled flour. Thanks to its neutral flavor and light color, it can serve as a gluten-free flour in most recipes. Simply swap it in at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Popped. Add the grains to a heated pan and watch them pop like popcorn. Add seasonings for extra flavor.
  • Flaked. Similarly to other cereal grains like oats, flaked sorghum is delicious as a cereal and in baked products, such as granola bars and cookies.
  • Syrup. Sorghum syrup is commonly added to processed foods as a natural sweetener or an alternative to molasses.

You can purchase sorghum online or at bulk food stores.

summary

Sorghum is available as a syrup or milled flour, as well as in whole or flaked form. In most recipes, it can replace grains at a 1:1 ratio.

Sorghum is a nutrient-packed grain that you can use in many ways.

It’s rich in vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, and protein.

What’s more, it’s easy to replace rice or quinoa with whole sorghum in most recipes. For a nutritious snack, try popping the whole grains on the stovetop to make popcorn. Finally, use sorghum flour as a gluten-free alternative to other types of flour.

If you’re looking for a nutritious grain to add to your next meal, give sorghum a try.

Just one thing

After you boil sorghum, save the water. You can substitute it for chicken, vegetable, or beef stock in recipes.

(Video) Harvesting Sorghum | 2021 | Making Syrup, Silage And Grains All From One Plant!

FAQs

Is sorghum a grain? ›

Among the cereal grains, sorghum ranks fifth in total world production, behind wheat, corn, rice and barley.

What is sorghum and its importance? ›

Sorghum is a nutrient-packed grain that you can use in many ways. It's rich in vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. It's also an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, and protein. What's more, it's easy to replace rice or quinoa with whole sorghum in most recipes.

What is grain sorghum used for? ›

In the United States and other countries across the globe, sorghum grain

sorghum grain
Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum (/ˈsɔːrɡəm/) and also known as great millet, broomcorn, guinea corn, durra, imphee, jowar, or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain, which is used for food for humans, animal feed, and ethanol production.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Sorghum_bicolor
is primarily used for livestock feed and ethanol production, but is becoming popular in the consumer food industry and other emerging markets.

What are the characteristics of sorghum? ›

Sorghum kernels are primarily decorticated and milled into flour, or flaked for further processing. Sorghum have extremely hard endosperm and the pericarp is brittle compared to wheat.

What is sorghum made from? ›

Sorghum is tall grass native to Africa that was brought to America in the 1850s. It grows well in arid and hot climates, and is drought and heat resistant. It also fares better in cooler climates than its cane sugar counterpart. The plant looks very similar to corn, but without ears.

How many types of sorghum are there? ›

Sorghum

What type of crop is sorghum? ›

sorghum, (Sorghum bicolor

Sorghum bicolor
Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum (/ˈsɔːrɡəm/) and also known as great millet, broomcorn, guinea corn, durra, imphee, jowar, or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain, which is used for food for humans, animal feed, and ethanol production.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Sorghum_bicolor
), also called great millet, Indian millet, milo, durra, orshallu, cereal grain plant of the grass family (Poaceae) and its edible starchy seeds.

What is the origin of sorghum? ›

Cultivated sorghum was derived from the wild progenitor S. bicolor subsp. verticilliflorum, which is commonly distributed in Africa. Archeological evidence has identified regions in Sudan, Ethiopia, and West Africa as centers of origin of sorghum, with evidence for more than one domestication event.

What part of sorghum is used? ›

Because of its coarse stem, it's primarily used for silage. Sweet sorghum is harvested for its juice before the mature plant forms clusters of grain. The stalks are pressed, and the juice is fermented and distilled for the production of biofuels.

What grain is sorghum? ›

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor

Sorghum bicolor
Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum (/ˈsɔːrɡəm/) and also known as great millet, broomcorn, guinea corn, durra, imphee, jowar, or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain, which is used for food for humans, animal feed, and ethanol production.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Sorghum_bicolor
) is a less well-known grain in the world food market. It comes in a distant fifth for most produced grains—behind barley, rice, wheat, and corn. While dwarfed by better-known grains (or cereals), sorghum is an important crop that has long played a vital role in certain diets.

What does sorghum grain taste like? ›

Sorghum has a mild, earthy flavor. Its texture and flavor is similar to wheat berries and the flour has been called out as being the most wheat-like gluten free flour.

How long does sorghum grow? ›

Grain moisture content typically varies between 25 to 40% depending on sorghum product selection and growing conditions. Total time from flowering to physiological maturity is approximately 40 to 45 days.

How do you identify sorghum? ›

The stalks are robust and frequently will have short exposed “brace” roots at the base that help support the plant. Leaves are smooth and glossy. Leaf margins are smooth. Sorghum is similar to corn in the vegetative stage.

How is sorghum made? ›

Sorghum is a sweet, dark, heavy syrup made by cooking the juice squeezed from sorghum cane. Sorghum is a tall cane that looks similar to field corn and makes a cone-shaped seed head filled with BB-sized seeds. Similar to maple syrup, the sweet juice cooks down into syrup.

What animal eats sorghum? ›

Sorghum silage works well in gestating cow diets. Growing and backgrounding cattle would most likely gain more slowly because of the lower energy content compared to corn silage unless cattle feeders add additional amounts of energy dense feeds such as grains or distillers.

What are examples of sorghum? ›

Sorghum

What is the scientific name for sorghum? ›

Where does sorghum grow naturally? ›

Sorghum is a genus of about 30 species of grasses raised for grain, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Eastern Africa, with one species native to Mexico. The plant is cultivated in Southern Europe, Central America, North America and Southern Asia.

What state grows the most sorghum? ›

Kansas produced the highest volume of sorghum for grain of any U.S. state, according to a 2021 report. In that year, about 265 million bushels of sorghum for grain were produced in Kansas.

What climate does sorghum grow in? ›

Sorghum grows best where summers are quite warm, with daytime temperatures regularly topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Sandy soils in warm climates are especially good for growing sorghum because it withstands drought and flooding better than corn does.

Is sorghum good for diabetics? ›

Thus, sorghum is a good way to keep a check and reduce blood sugar levels. Therefore, including sorghum as a cereal in place of other starchy and high-sugar cereals can help manage and control diabetes. In addition to this, sorghum is also a whole grain, which is always a good option for anyone diagnosed with diabetes.

Why do farmers grow sorghum? ›

Sorghum is a very nutrient-use efficient crop. Its ability to yield and grow in dry, marginal land is above the rest. Its unique makeup and genetics allows for it to thrive where other crops cannot.

What is the seed rate of sorghum? ›

Use seed rate of 30-35 kg/acre for sowing.

How do you say the word sorghum? ›

How to Pronounce Sorghum? (CORRECTLY) - YouTube

Is sorghum high in protein? ›

High in protein, gluten-free, and full of antioxidants, sorghum can be a healthy addition to most diets. Although it doesn't have the mainstream popularity of some other grains, sorghum is an extremely common crop in the United States.

What do farmers do with sorghum? ›

Since sorghum is primarily used as a livestock feed in the United States, and because it does not perform as well as corn in animal production (that is, it has a higher feed-to-weight-gain ratio and results in lower average daily gain for livestock), it fetches a lower price than corn in the market.

Where is sorghum eaten? ›

Sorghum is used for food, fodder, and the production of alcoholic beverages. It is drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant, and is especially important in arid regions. It is an important food crop in Africa, Central America, and South Asia, and is the "fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world".

Is sorghum the same as wheat? ›

Sorghum grains are unrelated to wheat, so they are suitable for those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Traditionally, this gluten free flour has been used to create pancakes, porridges, beer and flatbread such as jowar roti in India.

Is sorghum flour a grain? ›

Sorghum flour is finely ground from the whole grain kernel of sorghum. This is an ancient cereal grain common throughout Australasia and Africa. Its roots can be traced back 5000 years and is the fifth most important cereal crop in the world.

Is sorghum better than wheat? ›

Wheat flour is significantly higher (P <0.05) in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese compared to sorghum flour and significantly higher (P <0.01) in phosphorus, potassium, and manganese compared to millet flour.

How do you cook and eat sorghum? ›

Stovetop method

In a medium saucepan, add sorghum to water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for approximately 1 hour or until the sorghum is tender. Stir occasionally; add more water if needed. Drain any remaining liquid and serve.

Can you eat sorghum raw? ›

Jowar or sorghum is a winter superfood you must enjoy as the temperature goes down to boost immunity and support your overall health. The desi weight loss food apart from being consumed as roti, dosa or cheela, can also be eaten in its raw form and doesn't need much cooking.

Are sorghum and molasses the same? ›

They have different production methods.

Sorghum syrup is made from the green juice of the sorghum plant, which is extracted from the crushed stalks and then heated to steam off the excess water leaving the syrup behind. Conversely, molasses is the by-product of processing sugar cane into sugar.

How much is sorghum worth? ›

Stats
Last Value14.32
Latest PeriodJul 2022
Last UpdatedSep 7 2022, 08:04 EDT
Average Growth Rate5.15%

Who buys sorghum? ›

Chief importers in 2020/2021 (Sept. 1- Aug. 31) were China, the largest market for U.S. sorghum with 6.78 million metric tons (267.2 million bushels) in purchases; Sudan 70,800 metric tons (2.7 million bushels); and Mexico 60,900 metric tons (2.4 million bushels).

What value does sorghum add? ›

These grains are known to be nutritional superior to other mainstream cereals like maize and wheat with substantial amounts of iron, calcium and zinc. In addition, the two crops can withstand semi-arid conditions and require relatively low inputs, which partly make their production attractive to farmers.

What color is sorghum? ›

Today, sorghum grain

sorghum grain
Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum (/ˈsɔːrɡəm/) and also known as great millet, broomcorn, guinea corn, durra, imphee, jowar, or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain, which is used for food for humans, animal feed, and ethanol production.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Sorghum_bicolor
color is described as white, yellow, cream, hetero-yellow, hetero-white, bronze, orange, dark-red, reddish-brown, white-brown, lemon yellow, chalky-white, intensified red, pearly-white, etc.

Is sorghum good for liver? ›

In terms of organ health, sorghum appears to reduce steatosis, the infiltration of liver cells with fat because of a disturbance of the metabolism through a range of conditions including Western style diet, drug therapy and excess alcohol consumption.

How do you harvest grain of sorghum? ›

How to harvest sorghum seeds from the stalk - YouTube

How do you preserve sorghum? ›

Batch or continuous flow dryers using air flows of 100 to 200 cfm/bu can successfully dry sorghum at temperatures up to 200°F. Avoid drying sorghum in deep layers since the top layers may mold. Sorghum that is to be held in storage for 12 months should be dried below 12 percent moisture.

How can sorghum be stored? ›

How to store it: Like all whole grains, sorghum should be stored in a cool, dark place, preferably in a container with a tight-fitting lid, like a jar. The whole kernel will keep for several years in a cool dark place in tight-fitting containers.

How fast is sorghum grow? ›

Grain moisture content typically varies between 25 to 40% depending on sorghum product selection and growing conditions. Total time from flowering to physiological maturity is approximately 40 to 45 days.

Is all sorghum edible? ›

There are two food-grade sorghums grown: milo and sweet. Milo produces the edible seed while the sweet sorghum is used in producing the molasses-like sweetener.

How many leaves does sorghum have? ›

Five-Leaf Stage

Approximately 3 weeks after it emerges a sorghum plant has 5 leaves fully expanded; its root system is developing rapidly and roots produced at the lower nodes may push the lower leaf off the plant.

Does sorghum raise blood sugar? ›

Sorghum is rich in phytochemicals that have been reported to have glucose-lowering (7) and cholesterol-lowering properties (8). Scientific evidence has also shown that sorghum extracts has hypoglycemic activity in diabetic rats, thus helping to control the negative effects of DM (9, 10).

What family is sorghum in? ›

sorghum, (Sorghum bicolor

Sorghum bicolor
Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum (/ˈsɔːrɡəm/) and also known as great millet, broomcorn, guinea corn, durra, imphee, jowar, or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain, which is used for food for humans, animal feed, and ethanol production.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Sorghum_bicolor
), also called great millet, Indian millet, milo, durra, orshallu, cereal grain plant of the grass family (Poaceae) and its edible starchy seeds.

Is sorghum better than wheat? ›

Wheat flour is significantly higher (P <0.05) in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese compared to sorghum flour and significantly higher (P <0.01) in phosphorus, potassium, and manganese compared to millet flour.

Which is healthier millet or sorghum? ›

Millet and sorghum have similar nutrient profiles, but millet is slightly higher in calories than sorghum.

What are the side effects of eating sorghum? ›

Unfortunately, Sorghum is a grass and is known to produce an allergic reaction in some people. Food allergy symptoms include tingling or itching of the mouth, swelling in and around the mouth, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and even fainting.

Can I eat sorghum everyday? ›

Adding a serving or two of sorghum to your daily diet can do your digestive system a world of good! A serving of sorghum contains 48% of the recommended daily intake of fiber! Fiber is the ultimate body regulator, helping food stay its course through your digestive system.

Is sorghum good for liver? ›

In terms of organ health, sorghum appears to reduce steatosis, the infiltration of liver cells with fat because of a disturbance of the metabolism through a range of conditions including Western style diet, drug therapy and excess alcohol consumption.

Where does sorghum grow naturally? ›

Sorghum is a genus of about 30 species of grasses raised for grain, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Eastern Africa, with one species native to Mexico. The plant is cultivated in Southern Europe, Central America, North America and Southern Asia.

What is the origin of sorghum? ›

Cultivated sorghum was derived from the wild progenitor S. bicolor subsp. verticilliflorum, which is commonly distributed in Africa. Archeological evidence has identified regions in Sudan, Ethiopia, and West Africa as centers of origin of sorghum, with evidence for more than one domestication event.

Is sorghum good for high blood pressure? ›

Helps Regulate Blood Pressure

5 Replacing processed, high sodium starches like packaged pastas and rices with whole grains such as sorghum will help to increase potassium intake and lower sodium intake which may help to maintain better blood pressure.

Is sorghum good for kidney patients? ›

Therefore, the extruded sorghum, source of tannin, anthocyanin, and dietary fiber, when consumed with unfermented probiotic milk alleviates the inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Is sorghum good for blood type O? ›

AVOID barley, corn, cornmeal, couscous, gluten flour, grits, sorghum, and wheat products.

What foods contain sorghum? ›

You may find it in breakfast cereals or as sorghum flour in gluten-free bread and pasta. At home, you can cook sorghum like you would other grains and enjoy its nutty, toothsome texture in salads, side dishes, even granola. It can also be popped like popcorn and used as a garnish for salads and savory dishes.

Is sorghum a protein or carbohydrate? ›

Sorghum is made up of 75 percent complex carbohydrates, a long carb molecule that consists of plenty of fiber and takes longer to digest than simple carbs. “Since sorghum is high in complex carbohydrates, it will keep you full for hours and is a great option to eat before a long run,” says Liz Shaw, M.S., R.D.N.

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