General information and profile:
quinoa describes the seeds of Chenopodium quinoa and Chenopodium pallidicáúle, both of which are counted as goosefoot plants to the family of the foxtail family. They are closely related to common in Europe goosefoot plants such as spinach, beetroot and Swiss chard. The quinoa-bearing plants come from the Andes and have been an important staple food in their homeland for millennia. The seeds known as quinoa, ores millet or perureis are similar to pseudogels like rice.
The quinoa varieties originating from South America are annuals that reach stature heights of no more than one and a half meters. They have bright dark green leaves, which are strongly serrated and rhombic in shape at the edge. From the inconspicuous blossoms, which grow in upright stalls, after self-pollination, the only few millimeter-sized and almost white nut fruits develop, which are used as pseudo-cereals. Both quinoa-derived plant varieties are highly resistant to harsh weather conditions, drought and nutrient-poor soil conditions and can therefore be easily cultivated in the high Andes mountains. As a result, they are indispensable for supplying mountain populations with nutritious staple foods, especially in regions where corn no longer thrives.
History of the cultivation of quinoa:
Quinoa can look back on a long history in its native South America that goes back six thousand years. Like amaranth, quinoa was grown in the highlands of the Andes and served as a staple food until the Spanish navigators banned the Aztecs and Incas from cultivating them on pain of death. As a result, the valuable pseudo-cereals similar to rice gradually fell into oblivion and remained largely unknown until the second half of the twentieth century outside of South America. Europeans' growing interest in gluten-free and nutritious alternatives to traditional cereals has seen demand for quinoa rise rapidly since the 1990s. As a result, quinoa is now being widely grown and harvested in quantities exceeding 100,000 tonnes per annum. The main producers are Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. In Central Europe, the plants are also cultivated, but provide only low yields.
Use of quinoa:
Quinoa can basically be prepared like rice, but has a significantly higher swelling capacity and therefore requires higher amounts of water when cooking. Before cooking, the grains should be washed well in water. Quinoa is suitable as an ingredient for salads, vegetable stews and as a nutrient-rich side dish for different foods. Also oven dishes like casseroles can be refined with the aromatic small seeds. Quinoa is also available in the form of flakes, which can be used to eat in cereal mixes or to thicken soups and sauces. The pseudo-grain is not only popular among people who suffer from celiac disease, but also among vegetarians and vegans. It contains high levels of essential amino acids that are otherwise found only in animal products. Thus, it offers itself as a high-quality vegetable protein source. People who suffer from lactose intolerance and are therefore not allowed to consume milk products benefit from the high calcium content of quinoa. Iron and magnesium are also contained in considerable amounts and make the pseudo cereals a valuable food for a wholesome and well digestible diet.