Celebrate the Seed
Here at Acubalance, we really like to celebrate the seed! And by seed I mean, of course, quinoa, that chewy nutritions Andean plant currently exceeding many other grains in popularity. Browsing the shelves of local bookstores, I’ve seen entire cookbooks dedicated to quinoa recipes and at a dinner party recently, I ate an absolutely delicious quinoa cake! No wonder the United Nations has declared 2013 the international year of - you guessed it - quinoa.
If you’re like me, you’re wondering why an organization like the UN is spending its resources in celebrating a plant. Is this right up there with “May the Fourth be with you"? Well, actually, no. It turns out that for international food security, quinoa is our number one crop. We’ve heard a lot recently about the wheat grain and how hybridization has changed it unrecognizably in the past 60 years. Quinoa, on the other hand, was domesticated in its current form 5,000-7,000 years ago; it is identical to the plant found in tombs across the Americas. And although it originates from the Andean region, this crop can thrive in almost any climate across the globe. It is grown from Ontario to Peru, across Europe, and into the Tibetan Plateau. Very few food plants can claim this type of diversity.
So, if you’ve noticed this unusual grain on the shelves of your local grocery market and wondered what it’s for (and how it’s pronounced - "keen-wah," by the way), pick up a bag and start experimenting: mix it half and half with your usual dinner grain, like brown or wild rice; try it as a replacement for bulgar wheat in chilled grain salad with chopped apricots and slivered almonds. Quinoa is not only versatile and delicious, it is also higher than any other grain in virtually every mineral, as well as having the highest protein content. You can have your very own UN party in your kitchen.
Let the celebrations begin!
Bronwyn Melville, BA TCM.P.