In Sahelian Africa, it is primarily used in couscous. Sorghum has many health benefits that make it worth including in your diet. Because it is naturally gluten-free, it is a great alternative grain for those who have wheat allergies or sensitivities. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/plant/sorghum-grain, The Whole Grains Council - Sorghum June Grain of the Month, Purdue University - Center for New Crops and Plant Products - Sorghum, sorghum - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), sorghum - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Sorghum is a naturally gluten-free ingredient perfect for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. Other varieties of sorghum are grown for grain or livestock use, but sweet sorghum has a juicier stalk. For the principal modern crop species, see, "Sorgo" redirects here. Like many other ancient grains, sorghum is packed with healthy nutrients and offers several health benefits. The tiny flowers are produced in panicles that range from loose to dense; each flower cluster bears 800–3,000 kernels. Various fermented and unfermented beverages are made from sorghum. Around the end of World War I, refined sugar products became more readily available and less expensive, thus causing a decline in the use of sorghum as a sweetener. Around half of the sorghum produced is fed to livestock, and half is consumed by humans and used in other applications. Corn is popular for use in breakfast foods.…. For the Ragusan family, see, "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew", "Sorghum laxiflorum and S. macrospermum, the Australian native species most closely related to the cultivated S. bicolor based on ITS1 and ndhF sequence analysis of 28 Sorghum species", "Flora of China Vol. The sorghum plant, which is a grass, arrived with the African slave trade and spread throughout the American south due to its resilience against hot temperatures and dry conditions. Historians place sorghum as an early staple food in diets across North Africa and the Indian subcontinent, where its edible grains and leaves are used in savory and sweet dishes. But it is also a great addition to anyone’s diet. The seeds vary widely among different types in colour, shape, and size, but they are smaller than those of wheat. This quality has also made it a popular crop in Africa -- where it has been growing for 4,000 years. Most varieties are drought- and heat-tolerant, and nitrogen-efficient,[9] and are especially important in arid regions, where the grain is one of the staples for poor and rural people. According to the Sorghum Grower’s Association, the most common use for sorghum in the United States is as feed for livestock. Whole grain sorghum can be milled into a flour, similar to traditional flour, with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and can be used to make a number of gluten-free baked goods. Corrections? By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The flour has gluten-free properties and is a substitute for wheat, rye, and barley. Black and burgundy varieties contain beneficial antioxidant properties and are used in other food applications. Sorghum is a genus of flowering plants in the grass family Poaceae, which includes about 25 species. The plant likely originated in Africa, where it is a major food crop, and has numerous varieties, including grain sorghums, used for food; grass sorghums, grown for hay and fodder; and broomcorn , used in making brooms and brushes. The flour can be used as a wheat substitute for people on a gluten-free diet. Currently, most human consumption of sorghum occurs in lo… Sorghum is a genus of flowering plants in the grass family Poaceae, which includes about 25 species. Sorghum, (Sorghum bicolor), also called great millet, Indian millet, milo, durra, orshallu, cereal grain plant of the grass family and its edible starchy seeds. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Overview Information Sorghum is a grain. Sorghum Syrup A natural sweetener created from juice squeezed from the stalks of a special variety of sweet sorghum. This grain is a good source of protein, iron, and fiber, making it beneficial to our bones, immune system, and digestion. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 2 Sorghum syrup is made by cooking the juice from the stalk of the plant, evaporating the water and concentrating the sweetness. [4][5] One species is grown for grain, while many others are used as fodder plants, either cultivated in warm climates worldwide or naturalized in pasture lands. One species, Sorghum bicolor,[7] native to Africa with many cultivated forms now,[8] is an important crop worldwide, used for food (as grain and in sorghum syrup or "sorghum molasses"), animal fodder, the production of alcoholic beverages, and biofuels. Sorghum is often used for food, especially in arid countries where sorghum flourishes. Much of the sorghum which is made into ethanol is grown in Kansas. [14], This article is about the plant genus. Sorghum, (Sorghum bicolor), also called great millet, Indian millet, milo, durra, orshallu, cereal grain plant of the grass family (Poaceae) and its edible starchy seeds. It can be used as a cooking ingredient with a similar sweetening effect as molasses, though blackstrap molasses still has a higher nutritional value than sorghum syrup in most regards. Updates? The seed is ground into flour and used for baking cookies, cakes, and other items. Popped sorghum is a low calorie, nutrient-packed addition to snack bars and granola or used as a garnish on salads, desserts and more. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Other varieties of sorghum are grown for grain or livestock use, but sweet sorghum has a juicier stalk. Sorghum is increasingly used for the production of ethanol, second only to corn. In India sorghum is known as jowar, cholam, or jonna, in West Africa as Guinea corn, and in China as kaoliang. Sorghum's versatility gives it the flexibility to reach beyond traditional marketplaces, further enhancing producer profitability. It is commonly eaten as a cereal grain in Africa. Around the world, sorghum is already used for building materials like fencing, a plywood-like product and as a binder in wallboard. Seventeen of the 25 species are native to Australia,[2][3] with the range of some extending to Africa, Asia, Mesoamerica, and certain islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Sorghum is of a lower feed quality than corn (maize). Horses, cattle, pigs and chickens all commonly eat sorghum feed. It originated in Africa before traveling to Asia, Europe, and North America. Seventeen of the 25 species are native to Australia, with the range of some extending to Africa, Asia, Mesoamerica, and certain islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Farmers often mix sorghum with other grains to create blends for their livestock. The grain is also used in making edible oil, starch, dextrose (a sugar), paste, and alcoholic beverages. Tan, cream and white colored sorghum varieties are typically made into flour for the food industry. The majority are used to feed animals or get processed into secondary products like alcohol and sorghum syrup. Sorghum May Inhibit Cancer Tumor Growth Compounds in sorghum called 3-Deoxyanthoxyanins (3-DXA) are present in darker-colored sorgums, and to a lesser extent in white sorghum. Millet farming became particularly successful in the tropics because, unlike wheat and barley, it did not require the long daylight hours of summer that occur in the temperate climes. Stalks and leaves are coated with a white wax, and the pith, or central portion, of the stalks of certain varieties is juicy and sweet. Sorghum is used to make both leavened and unleavened bread. Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), also known as milo, has a variety of uses including food for human consumption, feed grain for livestock and industrial applications such as ethanol production. Sorghum is an ancient, 100 percent whole grain kernel that is ground into a fine flour that can be used in various ways for cooking and baking. 3. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The stalks are used as fodder and building materials. Use sorghum flour in breads, cookies, cakes and waffles. As mentioned below, sorghum is used for food and feed. Sweet sorghums, or sorgos, are grown mainly in the United States and southern Africa for forage and for syrup manufacture and are sometimes used in the production of ethyl alcohol for biofuel. Some of these species have grown as cereals for human consumption and some in pastures for animals. These varieties form important components of forage in many tropical regions. One species, Sorghum bicolor, was originally domesticated in Africa and has since spread throughout the globe. It can be used to make couscous, molasses, porridge and ground into sorghum flour. Sorghum syrup and hot biscuits are a traditional breakfast in the Southern United States.Sorghum syrup is also used on pancakes, cornmeal mush, grits and other hot cereals. The Sorghum Checkoff will continue working on behalf of sorghum producers to encourage new … For human consumption, the gluten-free grain is usually ground into a meal that is made into porridge, flatbreads, and cakes. [10][11], In the early stages of the plants' growth, some species of sorghum can contain levels of hydrogen cyanide, hordenine, and nitrates which are lethal to grazing animals. Sorghum seeds can also be popped like popcorn to create a delicious snack food. The seed and leaves are also sometimes used to make medicine. Sorghum is also used for new and expanding markets such as building material, fencing, floral arrangements, pet food, brooms and more. In North America, sorghum cropped up in the late 1800s, eaten as a whole food and made into syrup. There are over 30 different species of sorghum native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Sorghum is used in florals, birdseed and deer feeders. When using sorghum instead of molasses, use an equal amount of sorghum but cut the amount of sugar, since sorghum is … Tropical cereals spread from Central Africa not…, …may also be applied to sorghum, wheat, and rice. It is high in carbohydrates, with 10 percent protein and 3.4 percent fat, and contains calcium and small amounts of iron, vitamin B1, and niacin. Sorghum syrup -- sometimes called sorghum molasses -- has long been a favorite sweetener in the South, and it was particularly popular during the 1800s and early 1900s. S. bicolor is an important food crop in Africa, Central America, and South Asia, and is the fifth-most important cereal crop grown in the world. [12][13], Global demand for sorghum increased dramatically between 2013 and 2015 when China began purchasing US sorghum crops to use as livestock feed as a substitute for domestically grown corn. Sorghum is gluten free and provides a fantastic option for those with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivities. Sorghum syrup comes from a plant usually called “sweet sorghum,” a plant popularly grown in climates too hot and dry for corn. Red, orange or bronze sorghum are very versatile and can be used in all segments of the sorghum industry. It's a popular crop to grow within the drier regions of the States because it is drought resistant. Queensland Government", "Sorghum, targeted by tariffs, is a U.S. crop China started buying only five years ago", FAO Report (1995) "Sorghum and millets in human nutrition", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sorghum&oldid=994667665, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 16 December 2020, at 22:24. Sorghum is especially valued in hot and arid regions for its resistance to drought and heat. Sorghum is a strong grass and usually grows to a height of 0.6 to 2.4 metres (2 to 8 feet), sometimes reaching as high as 4.6 metres (15 feet). China purchased around $1 billion worth of American sorghum per year until April 2018 when China imposed retaliatory duties on American sorghum as part of the trade war between the two countries. The area planted to sorghum worldwide has increased by 66 percent over the past 50 years, while yield has increased by 244 percent. In North America, sorghum is commonly used in animal feed and ethanol fuel production. When substituting sorghum in place of sugar, use 1/3 more sorghum than the amount of sugar called for in the recipe and decrease the amount of liquids by 1/3. Sorghum is used to make packaging materials and wallboard. of the millet and sorghum families was first developed in the northern savanna. The plant likely originated in Africa, where it is a major food crop, and has numerous varieties, including grain sorghums, used for food; grass sorghums, grown for hay and fodder; and broomcorn, used in making brooms and brushes. The leaves are about 5 cm (2 inches) broad and 76 cm (2.5 feet) long. 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