The INCAS called it the "Mother Grain"
04.07.2014 - 04.07.2014
Quinoa harvesting in Peru and Bolivia
Have you tried Quinoa yet?
Before living in South America I had never heard of quinoa. But over the years I've learned to love it! If you are used to consuming organics then you may be familiar with it. But in recent years, quinoa’s worldwide popularity has increased tremendously, that's because of its nutritional properties, quality taste, and beneficial health properties. According to the UN, 2013 was said to be the international year of Quinoa!
But, If you haven't seen it... the recipes online, and Pinterest and such, are encouraging the quinoa craze and inviting all to love it. Since I'm here in quinoa's motherland, I thought I'd post a little about it uses here.
South America's Superfood
What is Keen-Wah?!
The seeds of this goosefoot plant you see below are known as quinoa.
These are some pictures of quinoa I saw while I was in service.
Although quinoa resembles a grain it isn't. It belongs to the family of greens such as spinach or chard. It resembles cous cous and is as versatile as rice. Quinoa is native to South America(Peru and Bolivia), where locals have cultivated it for thousands of years. It has been known as a staple food in the Andes region because it was just one of the few crops that the ancient Incas could cultivate at such high altitude.
Did you know???
Virtually every quinoa seed eaten in the United States is imported from South America. Specifically, from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile. In past years, almost no farmers outside of these countries grew it! But of course, plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa were determined to change that. It's already being grown in parts of the U.S. Areas of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Nevada and Canada. Quinoa cultivation has even crossed continental boundaries to reach France, England, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Italy! You can find Quinoa at stores like Costo, Trader Joes, Wholefoods, and Target. It is sold as flakes, flour, pasta, and can even be brewed into beer. You may see it in a variety of colors such as red, white, or black.
Quinoa contains every amino acid, that's right all 9!, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth, and helps the body absorb calicium. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. It's also gluten-free, so people with celiac disease can eat it up!
Well, in this unjust world there are oftentimes disadvantages to the advantages. The appetite of countries, such as the US, for quinoa has pushed prices up to the extent that the very ones who have spent years cultivating this seed as a nourishing staple for their families, can no longer afford to eat it. Here in Moquegua quinoa it is currently 18-20 soles per kilo. (6.50-7.20 dollars per 2.2 pounds). Some of the sisters from my congregation comment that last year it was 7 soles a kilo, and about 5 years ago 4! Hmm.. North and South exchange. Unfortunately, now its cheaper to buy chicken or just plain white rice than quinoa. This is just another example of how the focus on exporting premium foods can damage the producer country's food security. But it's true that at the same time other families are probably benefiting from the exporting as well. Who knows? But how interesting it will be, if Jehovah permits, to live in a world without these issues. And to get to know other types of crops and plants that we have never known from other parts of the world and to enjoy them in their perfect state without the manipulation of seed breeders and scientists.
How we eat quinoa in Peru
Quinoa beer sold in Ayacucho Here in Peru a lot of times its written with a 'U' (QuinUa)
This is a sweet snack of quinoa rolled in a ball and stuck together with honey.
Veggie stir-fry with quinoa
Quinoa for breakfast. This was boiled together with apple and has some added sugar.
Ingredients for my quinoa patties.
Pure de quinua. Cooked with butter, cheese, and milk.
So what do you think?
I'm curios to know how long you've been eating quinoa, if you buy it regularly, and how much it costs where you are.
Take care family and friends!