Quinoa

29 Sep 2014

 

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Quinoa

Quinoa, of which over 2000 varieties exist, is a herbaceous plant of which the grains are harvested after maturation. Belonging to the same family as the beet (beetroot), quinoa is often wrongly thought to be a cereal.

For the Indians of “l’Altiplano”, quinoa, called "chisiya mama" in quechuan (meaning "mother of all grains") was a sacred plant and, in ancient tradition, symbolized the fertility of the land. Following Spanish colonization and the destruction of the traditional farming system, the cultivation of quinoa practically disappeared until 40 years ago when Andes researchers focused on the promotion of quinoa production. Quinoa has become increasingly popular over recent years and is readily available in some supermarkets and in shops selling organic or fair trade products.

Quinoa has one of the highest protein levels found in a grain known to mankind.  Quinoa is small, round and ivory in color, has a light and delicate flavor and provides a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Quinoa should be rinsed under water to remove it’s bitter taste before being cooked in boiling water and can be used to replace rice, semolina or pasta.

Many people eat grains only during the colder months, but quinoa's lightness combined with its versatility in cold dishes like salads and desserts makes it an ideal source of good summertime nutrition. Cooked quinoa is excellent in hot casseroles and soups, stews, in stir-fries, or cold in salads.

Institut des Hautes Etudes du Goût, de la Gastronomie et des des Arts de la Table

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