8 Fun Facts About Quinoa That You May Not Know
- It is such a nutrient dense food that NASA scientists have been looking at it as a suitable crop to be grown in outer space.
- It is related to beets, chard and spinach - and its not actually a grain at all, its a seed.
- There are more than 120 known varieties of quinoa - in every color of the rainbow and then some.
- Commercially you can find red, black or white varieties. They are similar in taste and nutrition but white quinoa cooks up fluffier while red and black have a heartier, almost crunchy texture
- Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition. This type of complete protein is rarely found in plant foods.
- It grows in the Andes Mountains, and means "mother grain" in the Incan language.
- Quinoa seeds are coated with saponins, chemicals designed to protect plants from disease. Saponins can have a bitter, soapy taste, so either look for prewashed quinoa or give it a rinse yourself before cooking.
- When you cook quinoa, don't be surprised to see what looks like a curly tail coming from the seed. That is the germ of the seed which separates from the kernel slightly as the quinoa cooks.