Knowing More about Quinoa Plant
Quinoa might be first recognized for the way it could be cooked and eaten and how healthy it is for the body, but going back to the way it is grown and the plant shape it takes at the beginning of the process is usually not paid much attention to. Having quinoa could happen through the easiest way of buying it packed from a supermarket, but there are still other ways to get it, such as planting your own quinoa plant, taking good care of it, and making sure you take those seeds and transferring them into healthy meals which you eat during the day.
Some people are interested in planting and always wonder about the things or types of food which they prefer that they could manage to plant at their own gardens. You might not think at first that quinoa is a type of seed that you could grow at your home, but when you get the chance to know more about it, you will realize that this healthy seed could give you the chance to experience planting something at home; something that you could eventually eat.
What is Quinoa?
The confusion between whether quinoa is a seed or a grain has always been there since the benefits of quinoa started attracting people more to it, but to make it a lot easier for you, we will say that quinoa is an annual grain crop that is grown for its edible seeds and is usually related to the other types of edible seeds like amaranth, spinach, beetroot, as well as others. It is not just about being a grain crop, but we also have to mention that quinoa is a pseudocereal and not a cereal and this is mainly because it is not a grass.
Quinoa is a member of the Amaranthaceae family that is consumed and eaten for the benefits it could deliver to the body, not just that, but even the leaves of the quinoa seeds are nutritious and could be eaten like spinach. There are different benefits for quinoa that could be delivered for the body, such as being rich with fiber and protein which the human body is always in need for.
At the beginning of the journey and when quinoa was firstly discovered, it was mainly grown in the Andean region and South America before it was widely grown in different parts of the world due to becoming a beneficial grain that people depend on for gaining some nutrients and minerals, but it is still mostly grown in Peru and Bolivia.
Mentioning some of the benefits related to quinoa, we have to shed the lights on it being one of the food types or traditional cereals that carry all the nine essential amino acids, making it one complete source of protein to depend on, in addition to that, quinoa seeds are high in fiber and oil and they also carry iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper, vitamin E, and a number of antioxidants. All these nutrients and minerals could help in providing the body with some benefits starting from curing some diseases and health conditions and ending with helping people lose some weight.
How to Plant Quinoa?
There are different ways that quinoa could be eaten through but in order to get those seeds, you should choose one of two different options; either you buy those seeds ready and packaged and start the cooking process immediately, or else you know the tips related to planting quinoa, know when they should be planted, and moving forward with the rest of the process to produce your own thing.
In order to grow and plant quinoa, there are different things to know about and keep in mind, such as:
- Making sure you are growing quinoa in the right temperature since it is best to go through this process in the very early spring – between late April and late May – since it should be grown in a place where the maximum temperature do not exceed 32 C.
- Some farmers or experts will advise you to refrigerate the seeds before starting the planting process because when the soil temperature is around 15 C, the seedlings emerge within two to three days, but when the soil temperature is higher than that, quinoa may not germinate.
- Quinoa needs a warm season in order for it to germinate and that is why germinating it in temperatures between 18 and 24 C is considered the best.
- When it comes to the germination stage, you have to know that quinoa seeds will germinate more with a finely prepared surface and adequate moisture. In addition to that, the seeds should be sown no more than one-quarter inch deep in rows one and a half to two feet (45 -60 cm) apart or should be wide enough in order to accommodate a rototiller between the rows without damaging the plants.
- Quinoa seeds are small and that is why you can avoid the considerable thinning by mixing it with sand or radish seed before sewing. Quinoa is also a low maintenance crop but weed, especially at the beginning, and should be discouraged by cultivation or mulching.
- The soil moisture is important at the beginning of the planting process and that is why you should always pay attention to that especially if you are planting it at the beginning of June. If the soil is moisture enough, you should not water the plant until it reaches two or three leaf stage.
- You might at first realize that quinoa is slow in growing, but actually it is extremely drought tolerant and do well on total 10 inches of water. When the plant reach about one foot in height, it starts to grow very rapidly, the canopy closes in, weeds are shaded out and less moisture is lost through evaporation.
- To know when the quinoa is ready to be harvested, you should watch its growing process and when the leaves start to fall, it means that it is ready to be harvested; when the dried seed heads are the only thing noticed there. When you harvest the seeds of quinoa, you should clean them with a fan or other blowing devices and you should make sure that they are completely dry before you start storing them in order for them not to mold. The draining process is easy, you will just place the seeds in the sunlight or you will place them near an indoor heat source and when they are completely dry, you have to store them in air tight containers in a cool place.
When to Plant Quinoa?
Before you decide to grow quinoa all by yourself, there are some small details that you should be well aware of, such as the things you should do to grow those seeds correctly, how they are supposed to be taken care of, when they should be harvested, how to harvest them, how to store those seeds, and so forth. Among these different pieces of information, you should also know about the correct timing during the year that is considered best for growing quinoa; it is considered best to plant quinoa when the soil has warmed up to approximately 60 degrees, which is usually in the very early spring.
Quinoa Plant Seeds
After going through the process of planting quinoa and after knowing how those seeds should be stored, you will come to the process of preparing them and knowing how they should be cooked and what are the different recipes and dishes which they could be part of. The best thing about quinoa is the edible taste it carries which makes it possible for it to be added to different types of food and different recipes found out there, but it should go through the preparation stage first.
Preparing quinoa means washing it thoroughly and that is mainly for the saponin coat that covers it and causes the bitter taste to appear; this coat is beneficial because it protects the seed from being eaten by the insects. You will place these seeds in a fine mesh strainer and put it under the water for a couple of seconds, you could also use your hands along the process to make sure that the coat is totally removed, once you are finished, you could taste one seed and then if everything is okay, you could start the cooking process.
A lot of people choose to eat quinoa for several reasons, some of them do that for the health benefits it could deliver to the human body, while others choose it because it could be prepared quickly and might not take more than 20 or 25 minutes. There are different steps to take when it comes to cooking quinoa in order to end up with the best dish out there, these different steps include:
- Toasting the quinoa to give it more taste; you will heat some oil on medium-low heat, add the quinoa, and stir constantly until it turns golden in color, for about 6 or 8 minutes.
- You could choose to cook it in something else besides water to give it flavor, although water is considered the easiest and the healthiest, some people still enjoy the taste that the other flavors add.
- You will bring the cooking liquid to boil, stir in the quinoa, turn down the heat to low, cover and simmer gently until all the liquid is absorbed, which will take about 15 minutes and you will know when the quinoa is ready because it will look like it has popped open.
- Finally, you just have to fluff the quinoa before serving it in order to separate the seeds from one another.
Trying quinoa seeds for planting might be a new interesting experience to go through and try, you just have to be patient, follow the right rules, and know how to germinate and harvest the seeds correctly and at the right times. Quinoa carries different benefits for the human body through the nutrients and minerals it could deliver, and this might be enough to convince the person to plant quinoa, harvest the seeds, and know how it should be cooked and prepared.