Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is native to the South American continent. It has been consumed for thousands of years and was known as the “Mother Grain” by the Incas. Technically it is not a grain but a pseudocereal, meaning it is a seed which is prepared and consumed like a grain. Once a staple for the Andean people, it has recently exploded in popularity world-wide on the back of a rich nutritional profile.
Quinoa can be a nourishing alternative to rice, pasta and other grains. It is an excellent source of nutrients and is being increasingly recognized for its wealth of health benefits. In addition, quinoa is being touted as significant to global food security, so much so that The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation declared 2013 “The International Year of Quinoa”.
Further adding to the credentials of this amazing plant, NASA have considered it for long-term manned space flight, stating back in 1993 “While no single food can supply all the essential life sustaining nutrients, quinoa comes as close as any other in the plant or animal kingdom.”
Quinoa. An ancient grain with a bright future – here in New Zealand and the world over.