Quinoa

Quinoa is a seed which has all the eight amino acids that are essential for tissue development of human beings. It has high protein, iron, calcium, vitamin E and vitamin B. It is complementary to legumes which has low cystine and methionine. The presence of all eight amino acids makes it a complete protein. Half cup of this quinoa which has 12 % to 18% protein is sufficient for a child’s per day requirement of protein. When compared to other grains it has relatively high 6-7% fat with more starch and fiber. But it has less sodium. Quinoa has also the albumen a protein which is found in blood serum, plants, and animals and in egg whites. This is gluten free which is good for people who are sensitive to gluten. Since it has good nutritive value it will be a good addition to one’s diet. Quinoa seed is also good for poultry and birds.

Quinoa is a very old food which is called as mother grain and it is sacred. Now in Bolivia, Chile and Peru it is cultivated and they are cultivated for their nutritive value. It is also known as little rice. For preparing various bread and soups these seeds are used. This seed is fermented for preparing beer-like beverage. For applying on bruises and sores the fruit’s sweetened decoction is used. Technically it is a seed of goosefoot plant. But it is used as grains because of the cooking characteristics. The plant grows to a height of 4 to 6 feet high and it is succulent type with many angular branches. The plant grows in various weather conditions but arid, cool climate and high elevated land is a favorable one.

Quinoa grains has a wide range of colours like brown to red, ivory to pink and almost black color that depends on the variety. Though there are more than 120 species of quiona are present only three varieties are produced. There is the white or sweet variety of quinoa which has pale seeds, the other red quinoa which has dark red fruit. The third one is black quinoa. The seeds are oval shaped flat one and are similar to millet in size. Quinoa is a delicate, slightly nutty flavor and fluffy in consistency.

Quinoa seeds must be washed before cooking for removing the saponin which is a bitter coating. In South America people use the saponin that is extracted from the quinoa as detergent for washing. It is also used for medicinal purpose like an antiseptic skin ointment. This seeds are quickly cooked in fifteen minutes. Quiona is used hot in soups, in stir fries, stews and cold in salads. It can be added to soups and stews without cooking. Rice dishes are substituted with this seed for rice. Over all Quinoa is a nutritious food.

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