[permaculture] processing quinoa ?
grahamburnett at blueyonder.co.uk
Thu Oct 20 18:38:21 EDT 2005
Lisa in Oregon wrote:
>Not sure it's entirely appropriate for this list, but then I'm not
>sure if any other list would be better...
>I grew a few quinoa plants. The harvested grains are brown. Seeds
>planted ranged in color from tan to brown (it's "Qunioa - Multihued").
>I've got them soaking, and have agitated, very little soapiness and
>the seeds are still bitter. After 24 hours of soaking they have a
>nice soaked grain texture, nice except for the terrible bitter
>aftertaste. Am I missing something?
Yup you should change the soak water at least 2 or 3 times before
consumption. The bitter saponins (cause of soupiness) help to keep the
birds at bay. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa
4 Saponin content
In its natural state quinoa has a coating of bitter-tasting saponins
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saponin>, making it essentially
unpalatable. Most quinoa sold commercially in North America has been
processed to remove this coating. Some have speculated that this bitter
coating may have caused the Europeans who first encountered quinoa to
reject it as a food source, even as they adopted other indigenous
products of the Americas like maize <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize>
and potatoes <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato>. However, this
bitterness has beneficial effects in terms of cultivation, as it is a
crop that is is relatively untouched by birds and thus requires minimal
protection. There have been attempts made to lower the saponin content
of quinoa through selective breeding in order to produce sweeter and
more palatable varieties of the crop. However when these varieties were
introduced by agronomists to native growers in the high plateaux, they
were rejected after just one season. The growers returned to their
traditional high saponin varieties, the reason being that despite the
newer varieties giving 'magnificent' yields, birds had consumed the
The saponin content in quinoa can be mildly toxic, as can be the oxalic
acid <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalic_acid> content found in the
leaves of all of the chenopodium family. However the risks associated
with quinoa are minimal provided that it is properly prepared and leaves
are not eaten to excess.
>Lisa in Ashland Oregon
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