keen wah

quinoa plant and seedsIt’s still the season for porridgy breakfasts despite the daffodils beginning to break rank and outshine the snowdrops. I’ve discovered that quinoa makes a tasty alternative to oats and I make up a batch of several servings to keep in the fridge.

Quinoa is a seed that cooks like a grain. It became a headline food just a few years ago because of its high nutritional content: calcium, iron, fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamin E and several B vitamins. Importantly, it also contains a complete protein i.e. one that contains all nine essential amino acids, those that cannot be made by the body,. One serving provides about 8g of the RDA 45-53g. Even NASA scientists regard it highly enough to recommend it be included in long term human space missions.

Despite its clear health benefits and increased demand pushing up market prices, quinoa is still a niche crop outside of South America. Consumers like me (and it’s not just vegans who have been hoovering up supplies) have to weigh up every 1kg bag with the social and environmental issues that have stacked up in the local communities where this staple subsistence crop has turned into a global commodity. Fortunately there is now a variety that can thrive in the UK, but not so fortunately the license-owning farmer sold the last crop in its entirety to a fast food chain. Let’s hope he can recruit more growers and quinoa eating in the UK can become guilt-free.



Image Sourece: Google search results


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