Some interesting facts about quinoa:
- Quinoa is pronounced ‘keen wah’.
- It is referred to as a grain, but is actually the nutritious seed of a plant that originated in South America over 5,000 years ago, and was favoured by the Inca people as an aid to health and long life.
- The sweetest-tasting quinoa comes from the Andes Mountains region of South America, but quinoa is now grown in other countries.
- Among the many nutrients that it contains, quinoa is rich in fibre, calcium, iron and folate (folic acid).
- Quinoa is not only nutritious, it is also very versatile.
As with all foods that are new to your baby, you should always consult your doctor or paediatrician about introducing quinoa into your baby’s diet.In general, if there are no problems, quinoa may be introduced from 8 months of age.
Buying and storing quinoa…
- Quinoa comes whole, in flakes, or as flour.
- Much of the quinoa available is organically produced, but you don’t need to buy organic specifically, as quinoa is not among the foods that are often found to be contaminated with pesticide residue.
- Store whole quinoain a cool, dry place – it will keep for several months, but check it often, especially if you do not use it frequently.
- Packaged quinoa should have a ‘use by’ date on the packaging, and should be stored in an airtight container – preferably in a refrigerator.
- If you buy quinoa pre-milled, always buy smaller quantities, and store in a refrigerator – if you buy in large amounts, some may go rancid before you use it because of the natural oils it contains.
- If you grind quinoa yourself, again, store it in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, or a cool, dry place – and check it often.
- Quinoa has a bitter coating of saponin that needs to be rinsed off – it is often sold pre-rinsed.
Preparing quinoa for your baby…
- Quinoa needs to be rinsed prior to cooking it to get rid of its bitterness and saponins, and this may be a good idea even if you have bought pre-rinsed quinoa. Rinse the amount you need in a fine mesh strainer, running water over it until there are no more bubbles.
- It is thought by some that quinoa may be difficult for a baby’s digestive system to deal with, and that toasting it prior to cooking will help. Toast the desired amount gently over medium heatin a frying pan or a sauté pan (oiling the pan is not necessary). Stir constantly to avoid burning, and remove from the heat when the quinoaturns golden brown.
- Finely groundquinoawill give a nice smooth texture when you cook it as a cereal – grind it in a coffee grinder or a food processor.
- Quinoawill expand when cooked – the usual ratio is 1 cup of quinoato 2-3 cups of water, but experiment to find what suits you and your baby best.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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