Ethiopian cereal and chilli mills: making flour in the market from corn, tef, wheat and chilli

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Flour milling in the west hap­pens out of view! Here we can see three dif­fer­ent grains being milled in two lar­ger stone-mills, each with two pairs of elec­tric­ally driven stones, and some grind­ing machines (prob­ably cone pul­ver­izers) are used for smal­ler quant­it­ies of less fine flour and also chil­lies. We see the tra­di­tional Ethiopian grain tef (Teff, Eragrostis tef, with tiny grains 1mm x 0.7 mm), wheat and white maize com­ing to the mills in 50kg sacks, and then the women sieve and win­now it in the air. It is then put into the grinder. For chilies in the final third of the video, women were buy­ing them in the 5kg quant­it­ies in the mar­ket and thank­ing them to be ground at the mill — a quick search sug­gests that an Indian machine from http://​www​.brin​dus​tries​.in/​c​h​i​l​l​y​-​g​r​i​n​d​i​n​g​-​p​l​a​n​t​s​.​htm was being used! The chil­lies were mostly very hot and the dust caught your throat. There didn’t seem to be much pro­tec­tion from explo­sion in the flour mills.


Unlike the video of the Indian flour mills I pos­ted earlier, http://​youtu​.be/​1​t​P​W​q​p​j​4​680 , there was no siev­ing pro­cess to sep­ar­ate flour and bran. These mills are in Axum (Aksum), Ethiopia.

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Editor Pat Heslop-Harrison. ORCID 0000-0002-3105-2167

Pat Heslop-Harrison is Professor of Molecular Cytogenetics and Cell Biology at the University of Leicester. He is also Chief Editor of Annals of Botany.