This grain-like Superfood has become one of the most sought after eats over the past decade, although the origins of Quinoa date back to almost 4,000 years ago, originating from the Andes Mountain in South America, when it was first used for consumption in the Andean region of Bolivia, Peru and Colombia.
It was not until the 1970s that Quinoa started crowning its moment of modern time glory. Many of us are aware of the benefits of quinoa, but some still can barely get by pronouncing it correctly.
So, before we dive into this Quinoa crash-course, we will spare you all the embarrassment of having to massacre its pronunciation. The word ‘Qui-noa' is pronounced as ‘KEEN-WA' and you can find many types of quinoa these days in almost every corner of the grocer, especially the special health food section.
Now, this is what we call it, your quinoa 411.
This goosefoot family is native to the Andean highlands and is cultivated for its starchy seeds, which are used as food and ground into flour. There is a common misconception about quinoa being a grain due to its texture, but quinoa is indeed a type of seed.
Although there are many varieties of Quinoa, three are most widely cultivated and more commercially available in the market are: white, red, and black Quinoa.
Quinoa exports to the U.S. began in 1984. Initially, processing quinoa was difficult and done manually, the end product may have tasted bitter due to its bitter-tasting mildly toxic coating of saponins.
In the 1990s, the United Nations financed construction of processing plants and in 2005 the U.S. and Denmark helped develop new technologies to improve production and cultivation efficiency and quality.
The Quinoa boom began because of its wonderful health values. Health-conscious readers in the U.S. read everything about it being a power house in nutrition and with that, Quinoa took off.
Although modern Quinoa cultivation has spread across more than 70 countries, the three South American countries of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador are still the top quinoa-producing countries in the world.
Quinoa is a nutrient-dense seed that is high in Protein with all the essential amino acids the human body needs.
It is also high in Fibre, Magnesium, Iron and Folate which is completely beneficial for health. The health effects of quinoa go beyond the vitamins and minerals that you may be familiar with. There are thousands of trace nutrients, some of which are extremely healthy.
This includes plant antioxidants called flavonoids, which are proven to offer various health benefits to aid the body in combating free radicals.
The best part about Quinoa is that it is suitable for all ages. Many who are gluten intolerant use it as substitute for rice and grains. For the vegetarian and vegan, it is the best source of non-animal based protein that can substitute meat.
After harvesting, the quinoa seeds are processed to remove the outer coating. Then, the seeds are cooked in a way similar to rice and used to prepare a variety of dishes.
Today, you can add quinoa in almost any of your dishes. Quinoa shares the common taste and texture components of grains that makes it a tasty and the best go-to option to use as a gluten-free substitute.
Besides that, you can find many recipes from salads and soups to savory dishes and sweet desserts, such as cakes, pastries, even smoothies and juices. You name it, quinoa can do it!
So, there you have it. Excited to try some Quinoa? Check out All Kurma's collection of premium quality Quinoa.