Bajra or pearl millet is a widely grown kind of millet. The botanical name of bajra is Pennisetum glaucum. This crop has been grown in the Indian subcontinent and Africa since prehistoric times. As bajra can tolerate tough growing conditions, people grow it in areas where various other cereal crops, like wheat or maize, wouldn't survive. Commonly, bajra grows fine in dry areas that have low fertility of the soil. Again, it also thrives in soils that have low levels of pH or higher levels of salinity. Pretty interestingly, it tends to be one of the initial crops that get cultivated, and its fossil evidence is found in 2000-2500 BC too.
Bajra is a common crop of the warm and dry climate, and it gets grown in areas that suffer 40-50 cm of rainfall annually. It hardly grows in areas where the yearly rainfall does exceed 100 cm. So, the perfect temperature for the growth of bajra is 25o-30oC. During the initial stages of the growth of this crop, it requires light showers followed by bright sunshine.
You can grow bajra on areas that have red and black soils, poorly lit sandy soils, and even on upland gravely soils. This is a Kharif crop and is sown between May and September. The best time to harvest is between October and February or March. Bajra is either down in the form of a mixed crop or pure crop with jowar, ragi, and cotton. This is a rain-fed crop that is hardly irrigated.
India gets 80% of bajra from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Among these states, Maharashtra is considered the biggest producer of India's bajra. In the year 2002-03, Maharashtra created 11.46 lakh tonnes of bajra, and it was 24.74% of the entire country's production of this crop.
Commonly, in Maharashtra, it is grown in places that have a dry climate and poor soils. Dhule, Pune, Sangli, Satara, Nashik, Jalgaon, Solapur, Aurangabad, and Ahmednagar are considered the chief producing districts of this crop. Gujarat that is the neighboring state of Maharashtra is viewed as the 2nd vital producer as here, the production of bajra turned out to be 9.07 lakh tonnes in 2002-03.
People grow the majority of this crop in sandy tracts that have optimal concentration. Mehsana, Kuchchh, Amreli, Bhavanagar, Kheda, Surendranagar, Banaskantha, Jamnagar, Sabarkantha, Junagadh, and Rajkot are vital producers of bajra. The production of bajra in Uttar Pradesh alone was 8.98 lakh tonnes in the years 2002-03.
Agra, Mathura, Badaun, Aligarh, Bulandshahar, Etawah, Etah, Moradabad, Mainpuri, Shahjahanpur, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, Pratapgarh, and Ghazipur are the main places in Uttar Pradesh where bajra is grown. Previously, Rajasthan happened to be the biggest producer of bajra though the significance of this state to produce bajra has lessened dramatically during the last ten years or so. Today, its yield of bajra is only 2.2 quintals and so, it is also considered the lowest amongst all Indian states.
The contribution of Rajasthan to the bajra production was 15.46 per cent only in 2002-03 while it accounted for more than 42% of the land of India under bajra agriculture. The topmost bajra forming districts are Nagaur, Barmer, Jodhpur, Churu, Sikar, Pali, Bikaner, Hanumangarh, Ganganagar, Jaipur, Bharatpur, Alwar, Jhunjhunu, Sawai Madhopur, and Jaisalmer. Haryana manufactured 4.6 lakh tonnes of bajra in 2002-03.
For getting more nutritional benefits from bajra, you need to sprout bajra flour. When you sprout it, you will end up augmenting the nutrients' digestibility. Nonetheless, it might be tough to get a sprouted bajra. Hence, in this condition, you might require sprouting it yourself.
For sprouting bajra, you need to soak these whole grains for one or two days the manner you soak other legumes or grains. You can also use a sprouted bajra as a regular bajra. When you dry it, grind it to form flour. After this, you can form your bajra roti similar to wheat roti.
However, you need to be mindful that you must not grind bajra too much when you have been making it yourself. According to the reports, bajra flour is highly prone to rancidity. So, when you have got high bajra flour, always preserve it in the fridge in one sealed container. When you have got huge amounts of sprouted bajra, then you need to use it similar to bean sprouts and use it in stews, stir-fries, sandwiches, soups, and various other dishes.
There are several advantages of bajra, and some of them are mentioned below:
Weight Management – As bajra comprises complex carbs, we absorb it slowly right from our digestive tract, thus, leading to improved satiety. It also ensures a non-stop flow of energy and helps in preventing in-between bingeing of meals and overeating.
Gut Health – Bajra comprises a modest source of insoluble fibre, and it does its job in the form of a prebiotic in people's gut. It also aids in keeping people's digestive health in good condition. Insoluble fibre is also helpful in preventing overheating by including bulk amounts to the meal, which will result in early satiety. Additionally, insoluble fibre happens to be important for the ideal cleansing of bowel and avoiding constipation.
Free from Gluten – Bajra's protein content is gluten-free, thus, turning it into an excellent alteration from the heavy content of gluten that people consume.
Helps in Managing Diabetes – The prevention and control of diabetes are influenced by the intake of fibre in people's regular diet. The optimistic effects of this crop are well-documented in various studies from across the world. Bajra leaves an optimistic effect on diabetes as its fibre content besides the inclusion of slowly digestible starch takes longer for converting it to glucose. It aids in managing diabetes and proposes a continued energy discharge for diabetics. Again, this crop is a super source of magnesium too that is linked with a low danger of diabetes.
Presence of Phytochemicals in Huge Quantities in Millets – The plentiful polyphenols that are present in bajra comprise flavonoids, like luteolin, acacetin, and tricin. They are antitumor and anticarcinogenic and might help in combating the development of the cells of breast cancer. Flavonoids work as antioxidants in people's bodies and also aids in improving our immune system.
Full of Phosphorus and Iron – Bajra proposes modest quantities of phosphorus and iron. Iron is a highly vital nutrient for memory, cognitive thinking, and energy too. When you suffer from iron deficiency or anaemia, then be known that low levels of iron can make people feel weak and exhausted because of the shortage of oxygen that is being transported to tissues. So, we must eat iron-rich foods for our health.
The thing that makes bajra popular with people is it is a versatile grain, and you can use it for preparing bread and baked goods. You can eat a bajra roti on its own, or you can also use the roti as a wrap or stuff it with different kinds of vegetables. Some people use bajra as a porridge, khichri, or roti. Due to its nutritional profile, this becomes a superb winter cereal. You can use bajra as a salad too or use it in different dishes of South India, such as Uttapam. You can include it to the customary idly or dosa batter for augmenting their nutritional value.
Q. 1. How Far is Bajra Excellent for the Stomach?
A. 1. Our digestion becomes sluggish in the rainy season, and so, we eat high-fibre foods, such as bajra. This crop has huge amounts of insoluble fibre which proposes bulk to our stool and keeps the problem of constipation at bay. As bajra has huge quantities of magnesium, it becomes helpful in keeping our heart healthy.
Q. 2. Can we Mix Jowar and Bajra?
A. 2. We can utilize multigrain flour by including grains, such as barley, jowar, bajra, oats, and various other millets for improving the protein and fibre quantity. This also augments our satiety value and lessens the glycemic index.
Q. 3. Can we Digest Bajra Easily?
A. 3. As bajra has a high content of fibre, it digests slowly, and it also discharges glucose slowly in comparison to other foods. So, bajra is helpful indigestion.
Q. 4. Does Bajra have Vitamin B?
A. 4. Bajra has vitamin B elements in impressive quantities, and so, it means it aids in breaking down the fat and carbohydrates in our body. Additionally, it is also rich in niacin and aids in augmenting the HDL and good cholesterol in our body. So, it can help in preventing haemorrhage.
Q. 5. How Far is Bajra Helpful for our Hair?
A. 5. Bajra is rich in protein and is a highly suggested nutrient for individuals suffering from hair loss. So, when you take millet in sufficient quantities, it strengthens your hair. It will also make your hair stronger and less likely to split ends and breakage. As bajra comprises magnesium, it aids in lessening your scalp inflammation for treating conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff. When you use pearl millet, then it makes blood circulation easy and also encourages the growth of hair. Stress augments the levels of cortisol in our body, resulting in huge hair shedding but the presence of magnesium in millet helps in controlling hair loss by lessening the levels of cortisol in our body.