Ever wondered how Quinoa became so popular and mainstream? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that 2013 was declared the International Year of Quinoa! It certainly drew lots of attention to these tiny little “superfood” grains.
Quinoa is actually a seed from a weed-like plant that is part of the same family as spinach and beets, they’re pretty much a superfamily.
The name quinoa is actually a pseudocereal, which means that it’s not a grass, but it can still be easily ground into flour! Try substituting quinoa for rice or quinoa flour for regular flour!
When buying quinoa from bulk bins, ask about the store’s turnover rate, to ensure freshness.
During the cooking process, quinoa expands ,so keep this in mind when choosing how much to purchase and what size pot to use.
Most quinoa is an off-white color, however, red and black varieties are becoming more available. Try a multicolor mix to brighten up your plate.
Store quinoa in airtight containers and kept it a cool and dry place. For longer periods of time, it can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-6 months.
Try adding nuts and fruits and honey to a bowl of cooked quinoa to make a great nutritional breakfast bowl.
Try ground quinoa flour in place of traditional white flour in your favorite cookie/muffin recipes.
Quinoa is a great gluten-free alternative to pasta.
NASA is considering using quinoa for long-term human-occupied spaceflights because it’s so easy to digest!
Quinoa is a highly adaptable plant, capable of surviving extreme high and low temperatures, high altitudes.
Not only are the seeds edible, but the leaves and stems of the quinoa plant are as well!
Saponins (complex compounds) that are found on the outer coat of quinoa, are responsible for the grain’s bitter taste. Be sure you rinse your quinoa well before cooking to avoid any sour notes.
To cook quinoa, add one part quinoa to two parts liquid in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. This process takes about 15 minutes for one cup of quinoa.
You will know quinoa is finished cooking when the grains are translucent and the white germ partially detaches itself.
For a nuttier taste of quinoa, first dry roast the seeds in a skillet on medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
Quinoa can also be prepared in a rice cooker for added convenience.
Add more flavor to your finished product by using stock, broth or seasoned water to cook quinoa.
Quinoa is packed with protein. It contains enough protein to function as a stand-alone protein source, a characteristic that distinguishes it from other plants. Its protein content also contains many essential amino acids that we cannot produce on our own, and we must acquire through our diet.
Quinoa is also a rich in fiber, vitamin B, and other minerals.
Quinoa is gluten-free!
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