Sorghum. Say it out loud, and it sounds like a complaint about dental pain, but it's actually a healthy whole grain that fits nicely into a gluten-free diet, spurring new popularity for the grain in this country.
What is it? Sorghum is an ancient cereal grain from Africa and India. For people living in those areas, it's food. In the U.S., sorghum has until recently been used mostly for livestock feed—except in the South, where it's made into a sweet syrup.
What does it look like? Sorghum seeds grow atop stalks. The entire seed is edible and comes in a variety of colors—from white to deep brown.
What makes it a healthy grain? Sorghum is a good source of fiber, B vitamins, iron and potassium. It's also packed with phytochemicals that may help protect against type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Sorghum is naturally gluten-free, so it's a safe food for people with celiac disease.
How is it eaten? Sorghum can be made into flour. It also can be popped like popcorn, using just a little oil in a covered pan. (Wait for the pinging sounds to speed up and then slow down to know when it's done.) For a side dish, try toasting 1 cup of sorghum in a dry pan until slightly fragrant and golden in color. Then cook it with 3 cups of water for about 50 minutes or until tender.
Sources: American Institute for Cancer Research; Gluten Intolerance Group; The Whole Grains Council