Welcome to my blog on healthy eating and food safety. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information. This blog will be updated on a regular basis.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Quinoa - Grain of the Month

Quinoa – Grain of the Month
March’s Grain of the Month is Quinoa. Quinoa is in fact not technically a cereal grain at all, but is instead what we call a “pseudo-cereal” – our name for foods that are cooked and eaten like grains and have a similar nutrient profile. 
Quinoa grows on magenta stalks three to nine feet tall, with large seed heads that can be almost any color, from red, purple and orange to green, black or yellow. The seed heads are prolific: a half pound of seed can plant a full acre, yielding 1200-2000 pounds of new seeds per acre. Since nutrient-rich quinoa is also drought resistant, and grows well on poor soils without irrigation or fertilizer, it’s been designated a “super crop” by the United Nations, for its potential to feed the hungry poor of the world.
Over 120 dierent varieties of quinoa are known, but the most commonly cultivated and commercialized are white (sometimes known as yellow or ivory) quinoa, red quinoa, and black quinoa. Quinoa flakes and quinoa flour are increasingly available, usually at health food stores. Quinoa is known as an “ancient grain.
It’s not surprising that quinoa supports good health, as it’s one of the only plant foods that’s a complete protein, oering all the essential amino acids in a healthy balance. Not only is the protein complete, but quinoa grains have a usually high ratio of protein to carbohydrate, since the germ makes up about 60% of the grain. (For comparison, wheat germ comprises less than 3% of a wheat kernel.) Quinoa is also highest of all the whole grains in potassium, which helps control blood pressure.
What’s more, quinoa is gluten free, which makes it extremely useful to the celiac community and to others who may be sensitive to more common grains such as wheat.
Quinoa has quickly become a favorite of whole grain cooks, because its tiny grains are ready to eat in just 15 minutes!  You can tell when it’s done, because you’ll see that little white tail– the germ of the kernel – sticking out. Like couscous, quinoa benefits from a quick flu with a fork just before serving.
Quinoa has a subtle nutty taste that marries well with all kinds of ingredients. But make sure you rinse it well before cooking: quinoa grows with a bitter coating, called saponin that fends o pests and makes quinoa easy to grow without chemical pesticides. While most quinoa sold today has had this bitter coating removed, an extra rinse is a good idea to remove any residue.
Here are some basic cooking facts.
  • How much cooked quinoa does 1 cup dry quinoa yield? 1 cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa.
  • How much liquid do I need to cook quinoa? To cook 1 cup quinoa, you need about 2 cups liquid.
  • How long does it take to cook quinoa? 1 cup quinoa will cook in about 20 minutes.
  • How do I make quinoa less bitter? Nearly, if not all, of the natural bitterness of quinoa's outer coating can be removed by a vigorous rinsing in a mesh strainer.
  • How do I make better-tasting quinoa? Quinoa is really excellent when cooked in vegetable or chicken broth. Also, add about 1/4 teaspoon salt to each cup dried quinoa when cooking. Try adding other spices and aromatics during cooking as well, like a clove of smashed garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, or a dash of black pepper. 
Source: Whole Grains Council

No comments:

Post a Comment