Most people who have heard of quinoa think it’s a grain, but technically, quinoa is a seed, not a grain and its grown quinoahigh in the Andes Mountains of South America.  Quinoa is an excellent source of nutrition.

Eat one cup of quinoa (a single serving size), and you’ll consume:

  • 220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein)
  • 40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value)
  • 8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value)
  • 3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat)
  • A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250
  • 5 grams of fiber (20 percent of daily value)
  • 20 percent of daily value of folate (various forms of Vitamin B)
  • 30 percent of magnesium daily value (beneficial for people with migraine headaches); 28 percent daily value of phosphorous; iron (15 percent); copper (18 percent); and manganese (almost 60 percent)
  • Quinoa contains eight essential amino acids.

Those with gluten sensitivities or wheat allergies can enjoy eating quinoa as it contains no gluten or wheat.

Quinoa cooks easily in about 15 minutes.  It is like cooking rice in a stovetop pot, add 2 cups of water per one cup of quinoa.

Cook quinoa at a high setting until it starts boiling and then cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes.  When you see the ring-shaped sprouts popping out, you’ll know the quinoa is almost ready. Stir the quinoa so all the water gets absorbed.

Unless you have purchased packaged quinoa that specifically states that it has been pre-rinsed you need to rinse quinoa thoroughly prior to cooking. The exterior of the seeds are covered in a bitter substance called saponin.  Not only will it ruin the taste of the dish but it can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people.  It’s so soapy that the Incas used to rinse quinoa and save the water to bathe in. Rinsing quinoa is easy, but you will need a very fine metal strainer or the seeds will fall through.  Simply put the quinoa in the strainer and run it under a warm stream of water for three or four minutes.

You can use it like you would rice or add broth for flavoring and serve as a side dish.  I have been researching the shelf life of quinoa and it appears that it will store long-term if protected from heat, light and oxygen.  If I get additional information I will post it in the future.


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5 Responses to Quinoa

  1. Andrea says:

    We have been eating quinoa for about 4 years now. When we discovered that it is a complete protein, we realized the value of long-term storage for a teotawaki event. We store it similarly to rice, with mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and in 5-gallon buckets. We aren’t 100% sure of the storage lifespan packed in these conditions, but if its more then 5 years, and we continue to rotate our stock, we think we will be in good shape.

    Thanks for your posts, I find them both interesting and informational. I love that you “field test” your posts as well!

  2. Paul Simmons says:

    Brigham Young University has done a lot of research into food storage shelf life. I read a BYU article published on the web that gave quinoa an 8 year storage life in a #10 oxygen free can. I have read on the web where at least one seller of grains claimed quinoa does not go rancid even though there is high oil content in the quinoa seed. They speculated that the presence of unusually high vitamin D in quinoa was the reason.

    I wonder if extra drying of commercial quinoa seed is necessary to prevent mold or botulism if stored oxygen free.

  3. Paul Simmons says:

    According to one study comparing polished and rinsed quinoa fed to broiler chicks, quinoa polished to remove the bitter taste led to the loss of at least 20% or more of protein, as per my memory. At least the chicks did significantly better eating just rinsed quinoa. Note that quinoa grown in the U S is polished while that grown in South America is usually just rinsed, again, as per my recollection. I am not an expert but relate only what I have read on the web.

  4. sally says:

    It’s best to buy quinoa that is NOT polished but washed. we only use Organic Ecuadorian Heirloom Quinoa from Inca Organics. It is triple washed. and has a longer storage life as the grain is still a whole grain. Polished quinoa is not whole grain and is also significantly lower in fiber, about 1/2 of washed quinoa. As with all organic whole grains it’s best to store it in diatomaceous earth with some oxygen present so the grain remains alive and can sprout and increase food value.

  5. ann says:

    I want to know the best way to store Quinoa, red or white, and how long it will stay shelf stable. it would be for eating. would also be interested in the nutritional values of both red and white, and sprouted as well as dry and cooked from dry to ready to eat.

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