Aside from wheat, our farm produces corn, soybeans, and grain sorghum. Grain Sorghum–also known as milo– is harvested in the fall. I don’t generally take a lot of pictures of this harvest because I try to stay away. You see, milo is itchy. Very, very, very itchy!
Kansas is the top producing grain sorghum state in the country. It is a cereal grain known as the “camel of crops” due to its heat and drought tolerance. In Asia and Africa, grain sorghum is used for human food consumption. In the U.S., however, it has generally been used as livestock feed and is increasingly being used in ethanol plants.
As I was driving home from school this year I caught a nice little segment on NPR about a “revival” of sorts concerning the growing importance of grain sorghum and how farmers are including this “ancient grain” in crop rotations due to the fact it requires less water. The story also discussed how there is a rapidly increasing market for this grain for American food consumption because grain sorghum is gluten free.
Nu Life Market, based in Scott City, Kansas, is helping get this grain to the tables of American consumers. Their facilities mill grain sorghum and package products including Sorghum Bran, Whole Grain and Pearled Grain Sorghum Flour, and Pearled Sorghum.
Since the Whole Grains Council has identified Sorghum as the June Grain of the Month, I thought I’d give it try.
I used a recipe that Nu Life Market has on their website for a Pearled Sorghum Strawberry Salad–although I made a few minor adjustments.
The results were positive–even a teenager liked it! With that being said, I’m adding this to my rotation of summer salads.
Pearled Sorghum, Spinach & Strawberry Salad
- 1 cup White Pearled Sorghum Grain (from Nu Life Market)
- 1 1/2 cups of Water
- 6 cups of Fresh Spinach Leaves (I used a 10 oz. container of spinach)
- 2 cups of Strawberries (Not going to lie, I used the whole 16 oz. container–I have no regrets!!)
- 1/4 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of Honey (Blaze Fork Honey–straight from McPherson County, Kansas)
- 1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice
- Pinch of Pepper
- 1/4 cup of Sunflower Kernels
Add 1 cup of the pearled sorghum to 1½ cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil.
Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the lid and allow excess water to evaporate off while cooking for another 5 minutes.
When the kernels are soft and fully cooked, remove from heat and mix in 1 tsp of olive oil to cooked sorghum kernels. Cover and place to the side until your salad is prepared.
To make the dressing, chop ¼ cup of strawberries (approximately 3-4 large strawberries) into small pieces. Add the ¼ cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, pepper and chopped strawberries into a small bowl and whisk.
Slice the remainder of the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the spinach leaves, sunflower kernels, pearled sorghum and dressing.
The recipe said it makes 4 servings. I think I could have fed 6-8 people with the amount of salad we had.
I served the salad with grilled chicken breasts that were sprinkled with garlic salt while they grilled.
Adam serves on the United Sorghum Checkoff Program board and has come home from many meetings with some interesting recipes. This summer I plan to try some of them out and share them with you.
If you’re looking for a simple, yet “different” salad this summer, you might give this recipe a try!
Very interesting perspective on milo… my grandfather and many of his neighbors farmed milo in north central Kansas from at least the 1920s through the 1970s. I never knew it was also called pearl sorghum! Will have to try the recipe.
Bill, thanks for visiting the blog. It is a delicious salad and I hope you enjoy it!
If you get the pearled sorghum, it will shorten the cooking time. In order to get the “pearl”, the outer coating known as the bran of the grain’s kernel has been partially removed and the germ remains.