Our first attempt to grow the ancient grain, Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) in our gardens proves to be successful with these healthy stalks standing proudly.
Quinoa is an ancient grass from South America where the Incas grew it as their main crop in the cool weather of the Andes. As creative farmers, they terraced the slopes of their mountain homeland and planted a variety of crops including, tomatoes, squash, maize, melons, peanuts, chili peppers and cotton.
One unique aspect of quinoa is its nutritional value. Quinoa is almost as complete a protein as an egg! It also delivers some wonder vitamins, like E and B, as well as calcium, phosphorous and iron. It is gluten-free, easy to digest and possesses a higher nutritional value than oats or wheat.
Quinoa can be eaten hot, warm or cold. With this level of versatility, any cook can exercise creative ways to prepare it as a cereal, stuffing, salad, main course or even baked into breads. You can even make desserts like Oatmeal Quinoa Cookies too.
Since this is our first season growing quinoa, an adventure looms ahead when we begin our harvest. Given the size of these stalks, it’s time to begin learning how to harvest and dry those stalks now.
Oh, here is an interesting bit of trivia in case you find yourself on Jeopardy: the Incas were the first civilization to plant and harvest potatoes!