Teff

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Eragrostis abyssinica (Jacq.) Link

Eragrostis tef, known as teff, taf (Amharic ጤፍ ṭēff, Tigrinya ጣፍ ṭaff), or khak shir (Persian: خاک شیر), is an annual grass, a species of lovegrass native to the northern Ethiopian Highlands of Northeast Africa.

Common names include teff, lovegrass, annual bunch grass (English); Ṭeff/Ṭéff (Amharic, both representing the same sound, an ejective consonant); Ṭaffi/xaffi (Oromo, both representing the same sound); Ṭaff (Tigrinya); and mil éthiopien (French). It is also written as ttheff, tteff, thaff, tcheff, and thaft.[1] The word "tef" is connected by folk etymology to the Ethio-Semitic root "ṭff", which means "lost" (because of the small size of the grain).

Contents

Description

Eragrostis tef has an attractive nutrition profile, being high in dietary fiber and iron and providing protein and calcium.[2] Some people consider it to have a sour taste. (This might be because it is often eaten fermented). It is similar to millet and quinoa in cooking, but the seed is much smaller, and thus cooks using less fuel.

Distribution

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

Teff is an important food grain in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is used to make injera, and less so in India and Australia. It is now raised in the U.S., in Idaho in particular, with experimental plots in Kansas. Because of its small seeds (less than 1 mm diameter), one can hold enough to sow a large area in one hand. This property makes teff particularly suited to a seminomadic lifestyle.

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