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Popping Sorghum?

Ok, I'll admit this post is sparked by the recent Bizarre Foods episode. The thought of an alternative to popcorn really makes me want to try it.

A few questions....would I just just find it in the "bulk" section of the supermarket? Is it readily available? Is there anything that I would need to do to it prior to popping?

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  1. It may be hard to find. I don't recall ever seeing whole sorghum at a healthfood bulk section. Bob's Red Mill has a gluten free sorghum flour, but I don't find any whole grain. US grows a lot of sorghum, but half is exported, and more than half of the remainder goes to animal feed.

    1. I'm actually going to hunt it down this weekend and check Whole Foods and Trader Joes. And maybe ethnic groceries as well.

      It sucks that they're turning to it for biofuel, as if corn wasn't a dumb enough "solution;" now they want to take away more of earths food to run their SUVs while millions of people in the world are starving. tsktsk

      But enough of politics. If shopping, keep a look out for other labels like kafir corn, milo, sorgos, durra and guinea millet (taken from .. one of those sorghum-producer-association's website).

      also, for alternatives you can look into puffed wheat, soybeans, rice (the spongy kind). I've made the spongy -kind-pop-rice just in a pan by toasting them and then sprinkling water on them. It's like a 10% success rate but for the ones you do get, it's pretty cool.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Deanlo

        Genmai-cha is a Japanese tea that includes toasted rice. Some of those rice kernels are popped, so the tea mix has a scattering of these mini popcorn like kernels.

        1. re: paulj

          The latest pack of Genmai-cha that I bought (Yamamotoyama brand) lists its ingredients as:
          roasted brown rice
          green tea
          popped sorghum seed
          off hand it doesn't look much different from earlier purchases.

        2. re: Deanlo

          It could be debated whether starving poor Ethiopia are better off eating cheap sorghum imported from the USA or locally grown grain. Since people eat very little of this grain in the USA, wouldn't the 'local' option be to convert it to something we do use?

          Andrew's Ethiopia episode is worth watching for more than sorghum popping.

          http://www.sorghumrecipes.com/What.php
          has sorghum recipes - but they are all for a syrup made from sorghum, not the grain itself. That may the only form you'll find in a regular grocery, with pancake syrups.

          1. re: paulj

            Yes, I know about Genmaicha and the spongy rice. I remember initially thinking about how it looked like popcorn until I tasted it and then I realized it was toasted rice. Of course there's no way I can mistaken the taste of toasted rice because we use it pretty often in my vietnamese home. I kinda like it. :)

            RE: sorghum, Yeah. According to that episode, Ethiopia just has poor utilization of its grounds. They have a lot of fertile land but not a lot of farms.

            It's probably only a matter of time before some giant company figures out that they can build a cheap rubber plantation there.

            I do agree we should use our resources according to our needs. But sometimes I feel guilty. It says a lot about a country if they take perfectly good food and turn it into something inedible, despite the worldwide hunger, just so the *gas* prices won't be so high. I know it's not really our problem that other people are starving, but it feels like we're just giving them a reason to hate us more.

        3. From what I can tell sorghum is called "jowar" in India. It may be worth checking with your local Indian grocer if they carry whole jowar. Most of them do carry jowar flour or "jowar ka atta".

          1. I found it today at a local health food store so I am gonna be trying tonight! Figure I will first try it in a pan with oil before experimenting with with the hot air popper!

            1. We've seen whole sorghum (sold at milo) at a Haitian market.

              1. I saw the same episode and I found a website that carries dried sorghum. www.barryfarms.com. This didn't specify if it could be popped.

                I also found seeds to grow white popping sorghum on E-bay.

                Hope this helps.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bedeliafbs

                  Have you ever found out if Barryfarms sorghum pops?

                2. I was so excited to see this show. The kids in our family haven't had popcorn in years due to corn allergies. I'm popping a huge batch for Saturday night!

                  Here in Portland Oregon, we can get it at an Etheopian grocery store. Bob's, Trader Joes, New Seasons, nor Whole foods carried it. Stick with the air popper though, it soaks up oil like a sponge!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Redpunzle

                    So what does it taste like? Like popcorn, or different?

                    1. re: Samalicious

                      Its a little different, kinda tastes like a cross between popcorn and puffed wheat cereal, but then has a teeny tiny dollhouse sized kernel/crunch. like teeny chips of popcorn. it is nice because even the unpopped kernels are fairly edible(without risking cracking your teeth).

                  2. Greetings, I found these sites after searching for Sorghum, after watching Bizarre Foods, I hope they are useful. http://www.twinvalleymills.com (go to the order form) and http://www.shilohfarms.com/

                    1. just bought a bag of it today at Whole Foods, it was next to the bulk bin

                      1. You guys might also want to try popping amaranth. It's easy and sort of hysterical. The seeds are so tiny. I'm GF and often find it in the GF baking section in my local coop. Bob's Red Mill sells it.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Vetter

                          Does it look like popcorn - like popped sorghum does? And how do you pop it?
                          Thanks!

                          1. re: ataube439

                            I found this thread after searching for whole grain sorghum recipes... we grew our own sorghum this year in Baltimore City as an experiment. I tried popping the kernels and have to say it wasn't my favorite. They are much tinier than popcorn so you end up mostly eating tiny bits of crunchy outer hull. If you do decide to grow your own I would suggest looking for one specifically bred for large kernels. Off to look for sorghum risotto recipes!

                            1. re: AlizaEss

                              Crunchy outer hull- think of all the fiber you're getting! ;o)

                        2. There's a product out there called "Pop-Gum". sold in bags like popcorn or potato chips. I bought several bags to try. The taste was fine, but it took about 100 handfuls of the stuff to equal a
                          mouthful of popcorn! No kidding, it's TINY! I think I found it on the internet, but it may be in stores now.