What is the origin of quinoa?
Quinoa is an ancient plant, whose origins date back from the time of the Stone Age. The country of origin is South America, or countries that are spread on the soil of the Andes - Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.
Incas, ancient people who had inhabited the soil of South America had considered quinoa as a holy plant, which was highly valued and they donated her spiritual properties because they were considered quinoa as a gift from God.
Only the last fifteen years, quinoa becoming popular outside the area of Latin America, and now it is considered as a universal food.
In Western countries, quinoa is used in the production of pasta, flour, as a substitute for rice, but also in many other ways.
What is quinoa and how she looks?
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) belongs to the family of grasses, so it can't be said that the quinoa is a grain, but it is a pseudo cereal because it is mainly in the application of such acceptance, whether in botanical nomenclature, quinoa is part of family with spinach and amaranth.
Quinoa is an herbaceous plant that tolerates very high altitude, mountain wild growing conditions and low temperatures. It belongs to the well-resistant plants because it contains the external membrane that protects the inner part where is housed germ of quinoa seed.
Quinoa seed is very small 1-2 mm, round shape, like millet, and it can be found usually in yellow color, although there are other varieties of quinoa seeds in red, black and orange color.
Red quinoa is the best for cooking, because during the thermal process its color doesn’t change. Black quinoa has a somewhat sweeter taste than other types of quinoa.
What is the nutritional composition of quinoa?
So universal composition and the relationship between nutrients can’t be found in any other plant, as is the case with quinoa.
In the quinoa there is a lot of vegetable protein (12%) due to which the quinoa can be considered an ideal substitute for meat, especially in the diet of vegetarians and vegans.
The amino acid composition of quinoa is also impressive - it contains eight amino acids, while other grains contain mainly three. It has rare amino acids - lysine, methionine and cysteine.
In addition to protein, quinoa is rich in carbohydrates (63%).
Mostly it's starches and simple sugars.
Vitamin share in quinoa is as follows:
- Vitamin B1, B2
- Vitamin E
Minerals which were founded in quinoa are iron, potassium, manganese and phosphorus.
Quinoa doesn’t contain gluten, so it is recommended for people suffering from celiac disease.
Another interesting fact regarding the contents of nutritional substances - quinoa contains albumin, a protein that is characteristic of the egg white.
What are the Health Benefits of Quinoa?
It is recommended that people who are anemic, include quinoa in their diet, because it contains a lot of iron
It is recommended for people with high blood pressure, because it contains a lot of potassium which regulates blood pressure and osmotic pressure
Quinoa is good for lowering elevated cholesterol levels in the blood
Due to the abundance of fiber, quinoa gives a longer feeling of satiety and regulates body weight and metabolism
Quinoa gives strength and energy, while recommending to athletes
Reduces the risk of diabetes
Quinoa possesses anti-inflammatory properties
How to prepare quinoa and how to store quinoa?
After shopping, quinoa can be kept for a long time if you put it in a glass jar with a lid and place among other cereals. It shouldn’t be kept in the fridge.
Quinoa can be obtained in form of flour, which is highly valuable, but it can’t be used in a larger amount because it has a bitter taste. Therefore, it is combined with other types of flour.
Quinoa can be cooked and adds to dishes, soups and salads.
How to cook quinoa?
Before cooking quinoa, it is necessary to wash it well under running water to remove the saponins from external membrane that gives it a bitter taste. It isn’t necessary to pre-soaking quinoa in the water, as is the case with wheat, buckwheat and other grains.
The main measure of cooking quinoa - to one part quinoa goes two parts of liquid, which means that you will use about one cup of dried quinoa and two cups of water or broth.
Place quinoa on the stove, and when the water starts to boil, turns down the temperature value, cover and leave to cook gently for 12-15 minutes.