The story of Quinoa

 

Quinoa is an Andean plant which originated in the area surrounding Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia native to the Aymaran culture. Quinoa was cultivated and used by pre-Columbian civilizations and was replaced by cereals on the arrival of the Spanish, despite being a local staple food at the time. Quinoa is a species of the goosefoot genus (Chenopodium quinoa), a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.

It is said that Quinoa was a gift from the gods. Ancient wise tales tell a story of a time when the Aymarans could speak to the stars. One night a shepherd boy watching over his families potato field caught a the star playing in his field taking potatoes flowers form it. The stars he found where beautiful fairy-type females, so beautiful that when the boy caught one he let her fly away. The next day the boy went to visit the Condor in the high mountains, when he found the Condor he asked him to fly him to the stars where he would meet the beautiful young star again. The condor flew him to the stars and the boy meet the young girl and they ran through there fields which where fields of Quinoa. The boy lived with the girl, and she feed him Quinoa. Yet there came a day when the young boy wanted to see his parents. The young star gave him Quinoa to take back and share with his people. While flying back to home on the Condor the boy threw fists full of Quinoa planting it everywhere. From then on Quinoa had been grown to feed the Andean People.

 

Today you can find Quinoa in your local grocer isle. Quinoa is an edible seed that comes in a variety of colores and sizes, all round, but some bigger than the others. Quinoa is a quick-cooking, gluten-free whole grain (actually a pseudo whole-grain, because it’s cooked like a whole grain but is the seed of a beet relative). Quinoa grows in a rainbow of colors, but the most commonly available are red quinoa, black quinoa and white quinoa. Taste and nutrition are similar among the colors. White quinoa tends to cook up fluffier, while red quinoa and black quinoa have a crunchier texture and the grains don’t stick together as much. Quinoa is nutritionally renowned for its protein content and while it does have a decent amount, it’s not actually the amount of protein that’s so impressive. Instead it’s the type of protein. Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition. This type of complete protein is rarely found in plant foods, though common in meats. Quinoa also offers a good dose of fiber and iron. There are 111 calories in each 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa. Quinoa can be cooked like rice or made into a flour to bake with and because of its gluten-free properties it has become a new basic food in every household shelf.