Jowar is a popular cereal which is very commonly eaten in African and Asian countries. It is a spherical or spindle-shaped grain whose colour may vary from white, red, yellow or brown. The grain has 3 layers-pericarp (outer layer), the endosperm (middle layer) and the germ (inner layer). The pericarp is high in fiber while the endosperm contains nutrients like carbohydrates and protein. It is one of the most drought-resistant cereals crops and ranks fifth as the most important crop in the world after cereals like maize, rice, wheat, and barley. The English name of jowar, that is ‘sorghum’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Syricum’ meaning ‘grain of Syria’. Apart from human consumption, it is used as an animal feed and in alcohol production. The origin of jowar lies in Africa around 3000-5000 years ago. It eventually spread to India and China and finally to Australia. It is harvested in the months of July to late October. Jowar is hard textured and red in colour when ripe. It is dried after harvesting so that it's shelf life increases.
When purchasing Jowar grains, make sure they are not broken and are free from dust, debris, foul smell, and insect infestation.
Jowar when immature or unripe is poisonous due to the presence of hydrogen cyanide. It can lead to respiratory failure and even death if consumed in excess.(2)
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