The Quinoa Craze
If you have visited any food blogs in the last year, scrolled through recipes on Pinterest, or googled unique salad ideas, you’ve most likely come across quinoa. Quinoa (keen-wah) has taken the world by storm because it takes on the flavors you cook it with, adds protein and fiber to any dish, and is easy to make. But with so many people cooking, serving, and eating quinoa, there are still a lot of things that most people don’t know about quinoa.
The biggest confusion about quinoa is what it really is. Quinoa isn’t actually a grain, though it is often mistaken for one because it grows similar to other grain seeds. It actually grows on a plant with clusters of seeds that follow after the plant has blossomed with beautiful flowers. In fact, its color usually has to do with the color of the flowers on the plant.
Quinoa has grown in Bolivia and the mountains of the Andes for thousands of years, acting as a staple food for indigenous people in South America. It didn’t appear in the United States until NASA discovered the super food as they searched for a nutrient rich food to give astronauts on long space missions.
After that, quinoa in the United States was found primarily in health food stores and select grocery stores near the rice and pasta, or you could buy it online, but it wasn’t a big-selling product until recently.
More and more people have been searching for nutrient-rich food that doesn’t pack on the pounds and calories, which propelled quinoa to the forefront of the movement. It gained popularity when high-profile food bloggers began using it in their recipes and continued its time in the spotlight with talk show hosts touting quinoa’s superfood qualities.
Super Food Qualities
Quinoa definitely deserves to be called a super food. Looking at the nutrients in only one cup of uncooked quinoa says it all: 24 grams of protein, 12 grams fiber, 957 milligrams of potassium, 43% of recommended daily iron, 40% of recommended Vitamin B-6, and 83% of recommended magnesium.
Quinoa packs a punch in the nutrition department and helps to curb hunger with its incredible protein and fiber content. But you have to know how to cook it properly if it’s going to be worth eating.
How to Cook Quinoa
Many recipes for quinoa call for various ratios of water to dry quinoa. According to toAmerica’s Test Kitchen in Boston, a 1:1 ratio of quinoa to water will result in a light, fluffy consistency, rather than a more dense feeling you get with 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water. The 1:1 ratio also eliminates the guess work of over cooking.
They also suggest not tossing the quinoa in oil before cooking because that makes it taste more bitter. However, you may want to toast the quinoa briefly before cooking in water to give it a nutty flavor. But don’t take our word for it—go try it out for yourself!
You can grab some organic quinoa in our store, find it in your local grocery stores, or buy it in bulk from other locations.