What is Quinoa?

To make it simple we will say it is a grain, but it is not, it is a plant related to the spinach.

Quinoa has been cultivated at altitudes of well over 10,000 feet and have been considered a superfood for a few thousand years in fact, the Incas cherished it as a superfood of their own.

Here in the U.S., quinoa has been discovered as a nutritious asset and enjoyed culinary popularity within only the last few years. Heres why

Eat one cup of quinoa (a single serving size), and youll consume:
220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein)
40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value)
8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value)
3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat)
A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250
5 grams of fiber (20 percent of daily value)
20 percent of daily value of folate (various forms of Vitamin B)
30 percent of magnesium daily value (beneficial for people with migraine headaches); 28 percent daily value of phosphorous; iron (15 percent); copper (18 percent); and manganese (almost 60 percent)
Quinoa is stocked with life-sustaining nutrients all across the board, including all eight essential amino acids. There are other highly beneficial compounds, vitamins and minerals in this food that the Incas reverently called "chisaya mama" (mother of all grains).

Vegetarians would do well to incorporate quinoa into their diet often. Its difficult for vegetarians to get all eight essential amino acids and an adequate source of protein from one food source. Those with gluten sensitivities or wheat allergies can rejoice in eating quinoa as it contains no gluten or wheat.

Before cooking quinoa it must be rinsed. That removes a bitter substance put there by mother nature so the insects would not mess with it. Quinoa cooks very easily, in about 15 minutes. Like cooking rice in a stove top pot, youll want 2 cups of water per one cup quinoa.

Cook quinoa at a high setting until it starts boiling and then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When you see the ring-shaped sprouts popping out, youll know the quinoa is almost ready. Stir the quinoa so all the water gets absorbed.

Quinoa by itself tastes rather bland. Add any spices or herbs you like and perhaps some crushed almonds or walnuts. In the last two minutes before it's ready to serve, toss a handful of spinach and stir until the spinach withers a little bit but not too much.

Enjoy this food that the Incas valued as much as gold.

Growing Quinoa

I looked for quinoa in the Internet and found a variety of prices from $5 to $23 per pound. It comes in a variety of colors from pure white to deep purple but its properties are the same no matter what color you get.

I purchased mine from nutsonline.com and paid $62.25 for 25 lbs. That is $2.49 per pound. I received my quinoa the next day (they are in New Jersey).

Quinoa grows best where maximum temperatures do not exceed 90F (32C) and nighttime temperatures are cool. For most southern Canadian and northern U.S. sites, the best time to plant quinoa is late April to late May. When soil temperatures are around 60F (15C) seedlings emerge within three to four days. However, when quinoa seeds are planted in soil with night-time temperatures much above that, quinoa, like spinach, may not germinate. In this instance, it's best to refrigerate seeds before planting.

Quinoa is a warm season crop that requires full sun. Best germination occurs when soil temperatures range from 65 to 75F (18-24C). For southern Canada and the northern U.S., this usually means a late May or early June planting.

The small seeds (smaller than millet) will germinate in about 2 days. Plant in a finely prepared surface with adequate moisture, not deeper than quarter of an inch. in rows spaced about 18 inches and the plants should be about 15 inches apart.

Do you want to try and grow these seeds?

Just send me an envelope for me to put some seeds in and send them back to you, no charge, or if you place an order, send me a note asking me to include some seeds with it, I will send you about 200 of them. After you plant them, it will be only a couple of days before you see the plants starting to grow. I did not stratify my seeds, they went from the box into the ground.

Harvest after the leaves die in the fall. If you grow these for your own use, don't forget to rinse the seeds. before you cook them.

Hey, protect your plants from deer, they just love them!

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