About African Starches and Artisanal Grains

Starches, staples and African grain recipes from traditional and new African cooking (www.africanepicure.com)

(Flickr: Rod Waddington)

For millennia, African farmers have tended and saved their seeds from one harvest to the next, perfecting their food crops and continuing the cycles of civilization. The fields around villages and hamlets were colorful with long grasses sewn and reaped under the bright sun. Over time, variations developed that were unique to Africa and nowhere else. Now, nutritional science is telling us, time and again, that our ancient grains are African superfoods and worth celebrating and preserving.

African starches like plantains, corn and cassava are also valuable staples for our daily meals. They grown easily in local soils, and yield bountiful harvests even in variable rains. Our unique regional and local varieties of root vegetables like yams and sweet potatoes are also worth preserving in the face of homogenous supermarket vegetables that all look like copies of each other. We prefer our food to be individual, like we are.

There is such a richness of African grains to explore that we’ve created a list here.

African Artisanal Grains

African staples are easy to grow in a home garden and yield solid nutrition for the family, often with just a few plants that don’t require much time or attention.