≡ Menu

Anyone for Millet?

My mom in her generosity gifted a huge brown bag full of organic millet to our family. Now to most people this gift would seem a bit strange, but not to me. If you only had the pleasure of knowing my mom. But more on that later in another post. I grew up on millet, steamed and eaten like hot cereal, and it was a traditional meal eaten during general conference weekend. However, I had never actually cooked millet myself. So now that I had this big bag I thought I would brew up a batch. How hard could it be? My kids and I eat 7-grain cereal most mornings, I’m a fan of steamed brown rice, and I watched my mom make it numerous times, so I confidently got out my pan and started the boiling water. I really turned on the enthusiasm while I was preparing breakfast that morning, recounting to the kids various memories of breakfasts my mom used to make and about how much we as kids all loved millet, as would they.

My kids looked at me like I was trying to poison them when I gave them big bowls of it mixed with a little milk and honey. Their worst fears were confirmed when they actually took a bite (after many threats and bribes) and tried to chew on the hard little kernels. With pained expressions they showed their disgust by chewing as fast as they could and with open mouths, filling the kitchen with a noise that sounded like they were eating corn nuts.

I thought they were exaggerating until I tried a spoonful of my own bowl of millet. I admit the poor results were not too surprising. I had no idea how to really cook it and just guessed on the proportions of millet to liquid, apparently confirming again to my kids and husband that I’m not so great at numbers. More than a month has gone by, and the brown bag still sits on my counter. Every so often I find Tyson sneaking to the bag to dip his hands in and let the tiny balls run through his fingers.

With that background in place, I give you now the fruit of my search and experimentation for ways to use this nutritious food, now confident that I can prepare it in a way that is healthy and delicious. If you have never used millet or don’t know much about it, give it a try, as it is high in many essential amino acids and is a great alternative to rice. The grain kernels are very small, round, and usually ivory colored or yellow, though some varieties are darker. The lack of gluten and a rather bland flavor may account for the anonymity of this grain here in the United States, but it’s alkaline content is higher than other grains and makes it one of the most easily digestible grains available. It also has a higher iron content than any other grain but amaranth. It swells a great deal when cooked and supplies more servings per pound than any other grain. When cooked it yields a fluffy cereal high in protein, iron, magnesium and potassium. If you want to store millet in your food storage, it can be kept for over two years in air tight containers.

In it’s most basic form, steamed, one cup of dry millet yields three cups of cooked. This is one of the more mush-inclined grains, but if you follow these directions, you stand a good chance of having differentiated millet particles instead of paste.

Sugar Free Dark Hot Cocoa Mix



  1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Process for one or two minutes until well blended.
  2. Pour into an airtight container.
  3. To use mix 1/3 C of powder to 8 ounces hot water. (I use a blender to get it smooth.)
  4. Heat for 1 minute in the microwave.
  5. If desired, add a drop of mint, vanilla, almond, or other extract.


If you want your millet more moist and dense, increase the water to 3 cups and keep the lid on after cooking for about 10 minutes.


For Sunday dinner I made Korean Barbequed Steaks and served it over steamed millet and found it a nice change to rice. I also added 1/3 raw millet and 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds to my usual recipe for whole wheat bread and it turned out really well.

Also see:

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Tinkerbell April 21, 2008, 6:42 pm

    I really wish I could have read this post this morning before I placed my last $1000 order for food storage. I spent many days this last week working out the fine details of my ratios of grains, beans, etc. Bummer. Next time I need to replenish, I’ll keep this in mind.

    Speaking of food storage (and sorry to threadjack), does everyone have their’s done? With the world food shortages, price increases, gas prices, and this increased demand from LDS and others to get food storage done, now might be a good time if you haven’t done it already. I went to the cannery for our area on Saturday morning. They had only 160 cans and were out of wheat, white beans, etc. We had to ration things out amongst us. Similar things have happened each time we’ve tried to go for the past year (one time they had no lids). After that experience, I decided to just order the last of it and be done with it.

  • delmar April 21, 2008, 9:05 pm

    I found a trick to cooking brown rice and millet recently. I swear it was in Better Homes & Gardens magazine, but I could be wrong. Most people complain that millet & brown rice take too long to cook in comparision to regular white rice and items such as oatmeal. Heres the trick:

    measure out your brown rice or millet
    measure out your liquid
    combine in a tupperware bowl the evening before you plan on cooking it (or if using for dinner do this in the am the same day)
    let sit in the fridge overnight (or through the day in the case of evening usage)
    in the morning, etc. pull the mixture out of the fridge
    part of the liquid will have absorbed, but its fine.
    put the millet/rice & liquid combo into your saucepan and finish cooking.
    per your normal cooking procedures
    it takes about 1/2 the time to cook as usual!!!

  • facethemusic April 21, 2008, 9:19 pm

    I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever had millet or not! I remember when my mother went through her “health food” kick we ate quite a few things that we’d never had before.
    I remember her making a cereal that sounds similar to what you described– with the honey and milk– but I’m thinking that may have been wheat berries? (I think that’s what it’s called.)
    I HAVE used Spelt, and I had a cereal that was made with Amaranth and Flax. I’ll have to see if I can find some Millet, at least to give it a try.
    Jenn– is that something that they have up at the Amish store?

  • jennycherie April 22, 2008, 5:58 am

    Posted By: facethemusicJenn– is that something that they have up at the Amish store?

    Yes, I believe they do. You can also get it at whole foods stores (or from my mom’s pantry – – I’m sure she has some!

  • facethemusic April 22, 2008, 6:11 am

    You can also get it at whole foods stores

    If there was one closer to us I’d go. But I refuse to drive so far!
    I’d much prefer giving you $10 to spend for me at the Amish store the next time you’re at your mom’s.
    Can you say L-A-Z-Y??? :tooth:

  • facethemusic April 22, 2008, 6:12 am

    I love that smiley– it so perfectly illustrates the gap between my teeth.

  • davidson April 22, 2008, 6:41 am

    What gap? I saw a picture of you, and all I saw was this incredibly beautiful dark-haired woman.
    Even with a gap, you’d be beautiful.

  • Naismith April 22, 2008, 3:13 pm

    Oh, at first I thought this was going to be about the writings of Robert L. Millet, of whom I am a great fan:)

  • jennycherie April 22, 2008, 3:14 pm

    Posted By: davidsonEven with a gap, you’d be beautiful.

    She is! The gap is not at all like the smiley – – more like. . . who’s the actress/model famous for her gap?? I can see her but not remember her name. . . maybe Lauren Hutton, but younger and prettier!

    Posted By: facethemusicI’d much prefer giving you $10 to spend for me at the Amish store the next time you’re at your mom’s.

    in that case, I’ll keep it in mind.

    on another note – has anyone here tried quinoa or spelt?

  • jennycherie April 22, 2008, 3:18 pm

    and regarding the original article – great information!:thumbup:

  • facethemusic April 22, 2008, 5:53 pm

    Oh, at first I thought this was going to be about the writings of Robert L. Millet, of whom I am a great fan:)

    Ha ha!! Easy to have misunderstood that! And I heartily agree on Bro. Millet!!

  • ktk April 22, 2008, 9:33 pm

    That is so funny. I just takled about millet on my blog the other day. http://www.kilpatrick.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/say-hello-to-my-little-friend. I love millet. It is so nice with everything. I have not tried it as cereal, but Iove it instead of rice and mixed into bread. I will try your recipes since I too have a big bag of it. Thanks for the post.

  • naomlette April 23, 2008, 3:03 am

    Tink, I would love to start my food storage, but don’t know how to go about doing it! I wasn’t raised with one, and it’s so overwhelming and big and scary! And all the info I’ve gotten from the church doesn’t help. Any tips? (Besides looking for sales and buying tons. We just don’t have the money for that, and I don’t have the patience.)

  • jennycherie April 23, 2008, 5:42 am

    naomlette, I wasn’t raised in the church so I didn’t grow up with food storage as we think of it in the church. That being said, my mom did a lot of canning and preserving from our garden and we always did have a large pantry of stuff. When we first started trying to increase our food storage (about 10 years ago!), we were very low on cash and I tended to add one item/week from Aldi. For instance, I knew we used canned green beans, canned corn, canned mixed veggies and canned fruit. I’d pick one item and buy either a case of 12 cans or a years supply, if we could afford it. I realized, for example, that if we had green beans 1 night/week and used 1 can each time (Our kids were small then), that 52 cans would be a year’s supply. I rounded that down (which I figured accounted for all the times we were visiting my parents or my in-laws and wouldn’t eat at home) to 48 cans. At 29 cents/can it was roughly $3.60/case of 12 or about $15 for a year’s supply. That was do-able for me. I just conserved on things that were not as essential (frozen pizza or chips or something) and added bit by bit. Even if you can’t do much, every little bit helps because you are being obedient and showing faith through your obedience.

  • facethemusic April 23, 2008, 5:52 am

    Wise beyond your years, Jenn.

  • jennycherie April 23, 2008, 6:17 am

    :shamed:okay, now I’m blushing!

  • davidson April 23, 2008, 9:44 am

    Welcome, ktk! Loved your website. I wonder what the shelf life is for millet? If it were long, I’d rather store it than white rice. Nobody eats much white rice around here, and I’d like to have some alternatives in store. We’re a little concerned about diabetes because it is prevalent in our family. Your chicken looked yummy, by the way.

    Oh, and if Maren and Liam slept WELL after several rides down a hill on a sheet of cardboard, I am going cardboard shopping this very minute! We used to go iceblocking in the hottest part of the summer until the park told us to knock it off because it was tearing up the grass. I bet cardboard wouldn’t hurt too much (except for maybe me!) This is definitely a future FHE activity.

  • davidson April 23, 2008, 9:47 am

    Oh, duh. I just reread the millet article and saw that millet stores for two years. Hmmm. I think we will still be using and rotating it.

  • Tinkerbell April 23, 2008, 10:09 am

    Here is my reader’s digest version: check out the church’s website at http://www.providentliving.org. It is a great place to start. The church recommends a 3 month supply of the food you eat regularly, plus a year of long-term storage (or 9 months – not sure). They recently revised the amount of grain needed down to 300lbs/adult. They also revised the shelf life of most long-term food items up, so you don’t have to worry about eating it as fast. Kids need a fraction of what adults need (kids 7-10 need 90%, kids 4-6 need 70%, kids 1-3 need 50%). My family needs the equivalent of 5 adults. If you can’t get to a cannery, the church now sells the basics online. You can have them shipped to you. It costs a bit more, but the time savings is worth it, IMO. If I were you, I would start with getting a one month supply of long-term storage items. This is 25 lbs/grain per adult and 5 lbs of beans per adult. Adults only need 16 lbs of powdered milk, but kids need 3 times that. Milk is sky high – 3 times what it cost when I started 3 years ago. Cooking oil has doubled in the past two years. Sugar and flour are more expensive.

    When we were students, we had a 1 or 2 month supply under the beds. When we graduated, we used our first tax return to buy everything at once. I spent many hours calculating out how much of everything I was going to buy. I want a variety. Plus, we only eat whole grains and brown rice. Brown rice doesn’t store as long. We’ve been incorporating it into our diet for the past 2 years, so I have a better idea of what we eat. I bought whole wheat pastas. I am now buying white rice, too, because it stores longer. I hope to never have to eat it.

    BUT – if I were you, I would start with a one month supply of just the basics: buy wheat, rice, powdered milk, sugar, oil, beans. When you have a bit more money again, buy another month and start adding variety at that point.

    Here is why I am so adamant about getting food storage: prices are only going up. We’ve already seen a run up in the milk. Wheat is on its way up and is in short supply. China is considering stopping exports of rice. The lady at the cannery told me that if I can only buy one thing, buy oil. I am not trying to be an alarmist. I’m just looking at all the dynamics coming into play around the world and seeing that the Book of Mormon prophecies are true.

    When I was at BYU, my ward gave me a paper called “Food Storage for a Tight Budget: $5 a week”. It is enough to sustain 2 people for one year. It tells you what to buy each. For example, week 1 is 8 lbs salt. Week 2 is 5 cans cream of chicken soup. Week 3 is 20 lbs sugar. Week 4 is 8 cans tomato soup. Week 5 is 50 lbs wheat, etc. We started doing that, but we don’t like a lot of things on the list: tuna, tomato soup, mac and cheese. However, it could be modified. I would be happy to scan it and email it if anyone wants. My current ward also put together a similar thing that breaks it down by week. It is a bit more expensive. (Of course, with inflation over the past 10 years, some foods will be more expensive). It is on several sheets (one for each month), so it wouldn’t be quite so easy for me to scan. But, the concept is the same. Build a little at a time. My friend (who has done it that way, as opposed to me who places huge orders at once) says that Noah didn’t build the ark in one day. He knew the flood was coming, but he worked slow and steady. 🙂 Hope any of this is helpful.

    To be honest, it is overwhelming. I have all the basics, but now I am realizing how much more there is to still get. I am going to work on fruits and veggies and meats, etc. a little at a time.

  • delmar April 23, 2008, 10:28 am

    The minute….or week we move into our new house on May 17th-18th (our own house) we are re-starting our food storage. I’m horrible and I’ll be starting with the churches hot cocoa that i already have on hand. I get WIC so I might consider buying some of my milk in powdered form if they still allow it. We constantly have extra juice, peanut butter & cereal on hand too. Our new place has a decent little pantry so I intend on keeping it stocked as full as possible. Give me a month and I’ll let you know how I’m doing.

  • davidson April 23, 2008, 2:26 pm

    Man, I love having faithful friends who move forward with the prophet’s counsel. You inspire me.

    I’m gonna share what the head of the Idaho Falls Cannery shared with us when he came to our enrichment night last month, and you can decide what, if anything, is helpful to you. The very first thing out of his mouth was that we need to obey in this order: First, have a three-month food supply of things we normally eat. Second, drinking water. Third, a financial reserve. Fourth, a longer-term supply. Fifth, a 72-hour kit, if you are so inclined–but we are no longer actively counseled to have it, especially over and above the other things on this list. Notice that this is different order than what we’ve received in the past, and it is in keeping with the All Is Safely Gathered In pamphlet most recently distributed by the Church. I know we’ve already discussed 72-hour kits, and I understand there are different circumstances everywhere, but I think we can’t go wrong following the advice of the watchmen on the tower, those who see what’s coming and are authorized to direct us. The first thing to get is the 3-month food supply.

    These are the other tips the cannery man gave. A Dr. Pipe did a study on food storage up to 40 years old. Upon examining his findings, the Church drastically changed the recommended shelf life of some food storage items, and the good news is most longer-term items will have significant food value even after 30 years. He also discovered that the one thing seriously lacking in long-term storage is Vitamin C. A person can’t go 30 days without getting scurvy when there is no Vitamin C available. He said to buy pure Vitamin C tablets (not in combination with other vitamins or minerals) and store them in a cool, dry place in dark bottles. He said heat is the number one destroyer of food storage. People complained to him about bread made from food storage that wouldn’t raise, in spite of good yeast. He said the problem was the flour. If you add a dough enhancer like powdered gluten, or even a vitamin C tablet, crushed, the bread will raise, even with older flour. White flour will only store 3-5 years, even in the best of conditions, so it should be considered short-term storage, as should grains of any sort that have been MILLED. (If they aren’t milled, they will last much, much longer.)

    Hmmm, what else. He said not to store tin cans directly on concrete floors. The cans will draw moisture out of the floors and rust, even if the cans are in cardboard boxes. A can that has rust on the outside has rust on the inside, and the food isn’t good. He said to store the cans on wooden slats. At the cannery they sell food in both metal cans and foil pouches. Each way has advantages. Pouches are resealable, hold 20% more for the cost, and are rust-proof. They are not rodent-proof but are rodent-resistant. He said pouches are perfect for spaghetti. Cans are rodent-proof and possibly more durable. He said to store white rice instead of brown. White rice, barley, and corn in unsealed containers will grow rancid eventually because of their high oil content. (That was news to me. Rice, corn, and barley have a high oil content? Apparently.) For the same reason, nuts will go bad after 1 year; they have a high oil content, also.

    2 or 3-liter pop bottles are recommended for storing water, but only if they have the “pete” seal, a symbol that looks like a small triangle near the bottom of the bottle. Pop bottles are also a safe way to store grain or beans, but they MUST be COMPLETELY DRY before you put the food in. You need to keep the bottles away from sunlight. Weevil needs heat and light in order to grow. He said it is also helpful to put in an oxygen absorbent packet, which you can buy in large amounts from the cannery for a pretty small price. An oxygen absorbent packet is good if the packets are still soft and pliable; if it is hard, it’s not usable.

    Our Idaho Falls cannery has really had a run on it lately. Recently they invited the public to buy some of the things they had available. The lines of people were out the doors, and what they had available was gone in 15 minutes.

    Naomlette, here’s a pretty easy plan to get a three-month supply, if you don’t mind repetition. Plan a week’s menu for you and your husband of things you could make from items kept in storage: seven breakfasts, seven lunches, and seven dinners for each of you. A 3-month food supply is approximately 15 weeks. (That’s being a little generous, but I think that’s the way to go when you’re making plans.) Multiply the items you’d need for that week’s menu by fifteen. (We’re not talking about gourmet meals here; we’re talking about keeping you alive and relatively healthy with things you’d normally eat that could be stored, since you will need to rotate a 3-month supply regularly. Some people include items kept in a freezer, but if the need arises to live solely on food storage, you have to consider the possible lack of electricity.) If you plan, say, chili and peaches for lunch on Mondays in this one-week menu, and 1 can of each is plenty for the two of you, your family would need fifteen cans of chili and fifteen cans of peaches for a 3-month supply. Suppose Tuesday’s dinner is Lasagna Hamburger Helper. You’d need 15 packages of Hamburger Helper, 15 cans or bottles of beef, and the water required on the package (I think it’s 3 1/2 cups–times fifteen.) Just make a list of every ingredient you’d need for a week’s menu and multiply it by fifteen. This sounds overwhelming, but really, if you buy a list and get a little every time you go to town, you’ll be amazed how it adds up. We use cocoa mixes for the kids’ milk requirements, because I know that is a form of powdered milk that the kids will actually drink. (By the way, powdered milk that is too old to use is a great garden soil enhancer.)

    Then you have to come up with a numbering system to keep it accurately rotated, but it’s not so hard. I would number my fifteen cans of peaches #1A, #2A, and so on, to #15A. Then I would start over, numbering the cans #1B, #2B, etc., again, up to #15B. It’s important to use them in order, so you’ll always know where you are in the rotation. When you use a can, you write that item on your grocery list, so you constantly have 15 cans or boxes of that item. It also means some regular storekeeping, which takes a little time. Just tell yourself that grocery day is also storekeeper day. Number the new cans and put them at the back, moving the older cans forward. Takes a little time, but it’s also a really good feeling, to know that you’re doing what we’ve been asked to do and that you have a whole lot of food available. I’m really sold on this.

    Thanks for all your ideas, everybody. It’s good to have friends to bounce things off of.

  • marathonermom April 23, 2008, 2:49 pm

    Bless you, davidson, this was very helpful!

  • naomlette April 23, 2008, 3:10 pm

    Wow! Thanks for all the tips. I will do my best to follow them, probably by building a 3 month storage using the 5 dollars a week plan. That seems the least overwhelming, and I know we can afford that. If I look at all my handouts that way, maybe I’ll be able to make sense of them, finally!

  • naomlette April 23, 2008, 3:12 pm

    Tink, I would love the paper you got on food storage from BYU. If you scan it, you can e-mail it to me at naomlette@gmail.com. Thanks so much!

  • Tinkerbell April 23, 2008, 3:50 pm

    Yes, I will be happy to when I get a chance later tonight.

  • Tinkerbell April 23, 2008, 3:50 pm

    davidson – Thanks! Great stuff to know! I need to buy some Vitamin C!

  • Alison Moore Smith April 23, 2008, 4:36 pm

    Welcome, ktk!

    Naismith, I thought it was, too! Millet is great (the man). Sam and I had a long going debate about how to say his name. I said MILlet. He said milLET. So, one day (watch the segue to see how perfectly this fits will the grain/food storage thread) I was serving at the CANNERY and my partner was his WIFE. Hah. I told her about the bet and she won it for me.

    That was ages ago, we’ve read a ton of his works but not many of the scripture commentaries. Oh, and the wayward child book–which I heard was awesome–just because we don’t have any (yet–knock on wood–or whatever is appropriate in a non-superstitious LDS forum) and just don’t even want to go there emotionally.

    He and Joseph Fielding McConkie live about a block from my dad, along with a bunch of other great people. (Bruce Olsen did, too. Don’t know if he still does.) So it was kind of this hive of gospel inquiry. Great place to grow up.

    Oh, Arthur Henry King moved into my ward when I was…hmmm…probably around ten. His wife was this thin, tall, quiet, sweet woman. He was a big man with a low voice (and that distinguished accent) and these HUGE, wiry, eyebrows and a mustache. He scared me to death. It was only years later that I realized he was “famous”–when he started getting quoted by the GAs and there was a PBS special on his life. It was very good, btw.

    OK, so, back to grains…

    There is a great class at Education Week (Chef Brad???) who teaches the whole week about all different kinds of grains. He got me onto some, particularly quinoa. Yum.

    Molly should come in here. Due to some family food allergies she’s become an expert on all sorts of non-traditional cooking.

  • ChanJo April 23, 2008, 7:47 pm

    Hi rachel. I like your article a lot. Thanks for the recipes. my sister just gave me some millet last month and I didnt know what to do with it.

  • Tinkerbell April 23, 2008, 11:08 pm

    I forgot to do this! I’ll do it tomorrow. Remind me again if I forget because my 5 year old is turning 6 tomorrow.

  • mlinford April 25, 2008, 1:23 am

    He got me onto some, particularly quinoa. Yum.

    This is my new fave grain to use. My kids don’t like rice without it anymore. 🙂

    Did you hear about the new BYU super cookie made with quinoa? Seriously. To save children’s lives. And they share the recipe. I printed it out…I’m totally going to try it.

  • Tinkerbell April 25, 2008, 1:18 pm

    mlinford – your list on that link looks exactly like my pantry. 🙂

  • naomlette April 25, 2008, 11:52 pm

    That worksheet sounds like it might help. My e-mail address is naomlette@gmail.com. Thanks!

  • naomlette April 25, 2008, 11:53 pm

    I hope your son had a good birthday! Don’t stress too much about the paper, I can wait until you have time. Thanks again!

  • Tinkerbell April 26, 2008, 11:27 am

    I promise I will do it tonight when I print off the talk I am giving in Sacrament tomorrow AND the lesson I am teaching in YW tomorrow. AUGH! The problem is that my scanner/printer is up in the office, and my laptop is downstairs in the common area. But, I promise I will do it tonight when the two are connected.

  • mlinford April 26, 2008, 12:33 pm

    I just emailed it to you! Let me know if I can help in any other way!

  • naomlette April 26, 2008, 2:25 pm

    Thanks! I saw it in my inbox. I will take a closer look later tonight. Thanks again!

  • facethemusic April 22, 2008, 5:44 pm

    You’re sweet Davidson. But, go back and look at the picture again. I’m smiling with my mouth closed for a reason. :tooth:

    has anyone here tried quinoa or spelt?

    I have!! I still have some! You’re welcome to try it!

  • mlinford April 25, 2008, 1:20 am

    Posted By: naomletteTink, I would love to start my food storage, but don’t know how to go about doing it! I wasn’t raised with one, and it’s so overwhelming and big and scary! And all the info I’ve gotten from the church doesn’t help. Any tips? (Besides looking for sales and buying tons. We just don’t have the money for that, and I don’t have the patience.)

    Start with your three month supply. Build gradually.

    I did a blog when that was my calling. Maybe it could be helpful…just to get some ideas going. I share recipes from some of the foods I store. I also shared a list here on this site:


    Figure out what your family eats, and start buying a little extra when you shop, and little by little you can build up your supply. That is the current counsel…to start there. If you whisper me your email I can send you a cool worksheet my friend came up with to help plan. She’s a lot more organized at it than I am. I do it all a bit more from the hip. 🙂

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Next post:

Previous post: