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The Quinoa Craze

The INCAS called it the "Mother Grain"


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

White quinoa

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!

Posted by TenekaCJ 10:49 Archived in Peru Tagged quinoa moquegua

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Love it Love it.
I am looking forward to preparing some quinoa dishes. Ok really.... im looking forward to YOU getting here to prepare it for us! lol I have been pinning them a lot recently. Each time I have eaten it, its been delicious. I bought a frozen bag from Whole Foods which I have yet to open. That was more than a month ago. Very informative blog. With great pictures!! :) Did you take all of those?

by Tamara

10eka! Did you write this article? This was amazing! I knew about quinoa but not this National Geographic Reader's Digest Version! This was awesome! I have known about quinoa about close to a year now. Ur right. It's sad how scientists will try to manipulate the product to mass grow it and take away it's organic nature. And it's a shame that as plentiful as quinoa is, this greedy world is quick to market and sell it to us for 500% profit just cuz it's a "superfood". Anyways...awesome write-up you did!!

by Brandon J

@Tamara Por supuesto! I'm looking forward to preparing with you too, just hoping that it won't be that same frozen bag! lol. Yes I took the pics, all but the first 4 and the last, those were stolen. jeje.

by TenekaCJ

@Brandon thanks a lot! It's good to know you eat quinoa it's delish!

by TenekaCJ

Teneka, I just wanted you to know that, although we have never met, I feel so close to you. And it's all because of your blog about Peru.

My husband and I live in Wyoming, but visited Peru for almost 4 weeks in 2009 for the international. We have wanted to return so badly, but our circumstances just don't allow it right now (elderly parents). So, I want to thank you for keeping us 'in the loop' about our work in Peru. Maybe someday we will actually meet. You make Moquegua seem so appealing.

Enjoy your summer. We are looking forward to our regional convention in Loveland, Colorado in June. How exiting that there is really going to be an english convention in Lima this year. We are very interested to see how many attend.

So again, thank you. Agape, your sister, Lee

by Lee Kemp

@Lee Thank you so much! You don't know how encouraging your words are :) Yes, it is exciting to hear about how the English field is progressing here :) Yes! Maybe we will meet, if not now in the new world to come! Agape, Teneka

by TenekaCJ

I have spent the last few days reading your blog. I enjoyed it so much. I ran into it by accident. I was wondering what the need was like in Peru so a I Googled it. Your blog popped up and I loved it. I wish I could be as brave as you. I loved the pics and your experiences. Oh how I wish people were as receptive here as they are there. I want to be a pioneer like you. If I could I would go to peru and preach the Word. Your blog has opened my eyes to what it would be like to go where the need is great. Those Peruvians really asked you some great questions and I had to do a bit of research to get those answers. What do you do when you don't know the answers? Do you come back or do carry reference Materials? I just want you to know I am encouraged greatly. Thank you.

by Silversorrow

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