#741.9 Red Quinoa
Net Wt: 15 oz (425g)
Quinoa has been cultivated for approximately 6,000 years in the Andean region of South America, where it was a staple crop for the Inca and other pre-Columbian people. It is a member of the family Amaranthaceae, an amaranth family of flowering plant, and thrives even in poor soils without irrigation or supplementation.
Quinoa was a sacred crop to the Incas, who called it the mother of all grains or “chisaya mama.” As such, it was the basis of many religious rituals and, in some sense, life itself. Legend states that the Incan emperor would ceremoniously plant the first quinoa seeds every year. Nevertheless, quinoa came close to disappearing in 1532 when Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer, destroyed the quinoa fields to undermine the Incan culture. Only small pockets of wild quinoa at survived, and it was largely forgotten until its "rediscovery" by the outside world in the 1970s.
Quinoa is a nutritious option for those following gluten-free diets. It is one of the only plant foods that's a complete protein, offering all of the essential amino acids. Not only is the protein complete, but quinoa grains have an 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. It also offers more potassium than any of the other whole grains.
Quinoa has a subtle nutty taste and a fluffy, couscous-like texture. It comes in several colors, with white, red, and black being the most commonly cultivated. White quinoa is the mildest and least crunchy of all varieties. Black quinoa, on the other hand, may require more time, with red falling somewhere in the middle. Red quinoa makes a visually stunning addition to a variety of dishes.