Quinoa is an easy crop to grow in your organic vegetable garden. Its seeds can be cooked and eaten like bulgar or dried and ground into flour. Leaves of young plants are also edible – and tasty! Make sure to rinse the bitter coating off the harvested seeds prior to cooking, eating, storage, or for use as wild bird seed. Just rinse under cold water as you would rice, but for 2 to 3 minutes.
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Uncooked quinoa resembles bulgar. Each grain has a fine ring around it. This is the stem that attaches the seed to the plant. When it’s cooked, the stem straightens out so that each grain appears to have a little tail. This fine filament gives quinoa a bit of a crunchy texture, and it contains the majority of the grain’s protein.
Quinoa’s protein is said to be “complete” – it’s similar in protein to meat, fish, and eggs, so it’s a standby in vegan diets. Quinoa is also high in calcium, iron, and phosphorus. When cooked, quinoa is surprisingly light. For each cup of dry quinoa, add 2 cups of water, and cook for 12-15 minutes. The grains continue to cook, so it’s a good idea to stir in a few tablespoons of water before returning for a second helping.
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