To prepare quinoa or millet to eat, is rather simple. I know many think you can find it already rinsed, but I have not. Using a fine mesh colander, rinse grain under cool running water while rubbing them together for atleast 10 minutes. Then you can either soak them for about 30 minutes, then drain and give a quick rinse. I usually just rinse them, then toast in my cast iron skillet until they are dry, then I keep them in the fridge in airtight container until they are needed. I grind the grains to add to breads, cookies, muffins, pancakes, etc... I also use millet in place of corn in most recipes. I just grind the grains in my hand grinders, I can set these for a nice cornmeal or even finer. We actually prefer Peach's bread to corn bread.
The earliest recorded utilization of quinoa plant in history happened about 8 to 9 thousand years ago in the areas surrounding Lake Titicaca. There was an evidence of the native Bolivian community cultivating the crop. Ancient people were able to improve on the fruit of the plant to make the seeds much larger and at the same time making the size of the outer shell smaller. The plant is so versatile that ancient people not only used it for food but to hear certain kinds of diseases as well.
Quinoa was basically prepared and eaten like rice and it is one of the three staple foods of the early people of Peru and Bolivia. The other two are corn and potatoes. They were also able to come up with a beer made of fermented quinoa and they would drink it to celebrate new harvest.
The quinoa plant was so sacred that religious rites were held in its honor. The most important rite happened during the first planting of the first quinoa seed of the new season. The Incan emperor (whom they considered as a god) performed the planting by making use of a golden taquiza. The ritual was passed down through generations and lasted until 1532. This year marks the fall of the Incas to the Spaniards.
The Spanish Army killed the Incan emperor and destroyed the quinoa crop while taking over the lands. The conquerors suppressed all quinoa practices and usage but some of the natives would sneak to the higher portions of the land to secretly cultivate quinoa plant. People forgot about the plant until the 1970s.
Don McKinley and Stephen Gorad were students to a Bolivian spiritual leader Oscar Ichazo. The two mean built the Quinoa Corporation in 1983 in Boulder, Colorado and today quinoa is grown in the Colorado Rockies and in the Canadian Prairies. Most of the quinoa marketed in the U.S. though come from South America.
For more information about the health benefits of quinoa plant, feel free to visithttp://www.quinoakitchen.com/ . I highly recommend the quinoa kitchen site!!
Comparisons of the nutritional quality (% dry weight) of quinoa with various grains.
Comparisons of the mineral content In quinoa grain with barley, yellow corn, and wheat. Quinoa data are based on the average of 15 cultivars.
The Nutritional Wonders of Quinoa
There is an important lesson to be learned from the Incas relationship with Quinoa: not only is this seed a wonderful alternative to rice and other grains but this wondrous food is absolutely flooded with nutritional goodness;
As it becomes more and more difficult to eat a balanced diet amongst the fast food and the synthetic ingredients in today's society, it becomes more important to look into our past and assess the eating habits of the people that came before.
The world in which they lived was a stressing environment and the foods that found their way into their bellies were often consumed because of the energy that they provided as well as the accessibility and ease in which to produce them.
Millet is one of the oldest human foods and believed to be the first domesticated cereal grain. Though difficult to know exact origin, it's widely accepted that millet was domesticated and cultivated simultaneously in Asia and Africa over 7000 years ago during the Neolithic Era, and then spread throughout the world as a staple food. In the Old Testament, Ezekiel 4:9, millet is mentioned as a grain for making bread. It was a staple of the Sumerians and treasured plant grown in the hanging gardens of Babylon.
There is evidence that millet was grown during the Stone Age by lake dwellers in Switzerland and was eaten in Northern Europe at least since the Iron Age. It was a staple in arid areas of India and Africa for thousands of years. Millet was the prevalent grain of China before rice. In 2005 in northwestern China archeologists unearthed a perfectly preserved 4000 year old bowl containing long yellow noodles made from foxtail millet. Millet meal cakes have also been discovered. The earliest written record of millet, "Fan Shen Chih Shu" 2800 BC, gives detailed instructions for growing and storing the grain, and lists it as one of the five sacred Chinese crops along with soybeans, rice, wheat, and barley.
Greek historian Herodotus wrote that millet grew so tall in Assyria that he could not give its height for fear that he would not be believed. Early Egyptians learned how to grow millet in the arid Sahara around 3000 BC. The Moors in North Africa grew millet after discovering that it sprouted during the monsoon season and matured quickly. It was grown in southern Arabia as well and in what was once called Gaul (France). The Romans called millet milium and made a polenta-like porridge called puls, that was similar to the Etruscans' porridge pulmentum. The explorer Marco Polo wrote about food under the rule of Genghis Khan, "They have no shortage because they mostly use rice, panic or millet [panic is another species of millet], especially the Tartars and the people of Cathay and Manzi, they do not use bread, but simply boil these three sorts of grain." The Western European emperor Charlemagne ordered millet to be stored and used as a Lenten food. During the Middle Ages millet was the main staple grain in Europe and grown more widely than wheat.
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