Amabele (Zulu), Amazimba (Xhosa), Sorghum (English), Graansorghum (Afrikaans), is one of the five top cereal crops in the world, along with wheat, oats, corn, and barley. It originates in Africa and the largest producer of amabele in the modern era is still Africa, although the crop has spread to southern Asia and the Americas as well.
In traditional form, amabele is a towering plant over two meters tall, although many varieties designed for cultivation are dwarf breeds, specially designed for easy harvest. In Africa, however, traditional tall amabele is still grown. The individual grains are small—about 3–4 mm in diameter. They vary in colour from pale yellow through reddish brown to dark brown depending on the cultivar.
The most common cultivar in South Africa has compact elongated heads and was previously known as S.cafferorum. A form (previously known as S.dochna) with more sparse open heads is often grown for its sweet canes which are chewed like sugar cane.
In Africa, 74% of amabele produced is consumed in the home, primarily as thick or thin porridges, or as traditional beer. Other African foods prepared from amabele include flat breads and rice-like dishes prepared using boiled amabele.
Category: Cereals and Grains