The Life of ... a Quinoa Seed
Meet the Quinoa Seed. He’s a Whole Grain.
What is quinoa? Quinoa is a tiny little seed that you can eat. People call him a whole grain. Whole grains are great for your heart.
So where does quinoa come from? How do you eat it? What does it taste like?
First, you should learn how to say it. "Quinoa" is pronounced "Keen-wah."
Quinoa is from South America
High in the Andes Mountains in South America, a tiny white quinoa seed is ready to be planted in a field. It rained a few days ago, so the field is ready. There are no weeds.
A farmer plants the seed with many other seeds. He rakes just a little soil over the top. Now the farmer waits for the plant to grow.
What Does a Quinoa Seed Need to Grow?
Most plants need sun, water, and good soil to grow, but not quinoa! Quinoa is one tough little seed!
Quinoa can grow into a plant when there isn't a lot of water. It can grow in bad, rocky soil. It can grow in cold weather. It can grow without a lot of sun. It can grow up high in the mountains where llamas like to roam.
Quinoa Grows and Grows!
The quinoa plant can grow really tall. It can grow taller than a professional basketball player!
When quinoa plants are young, their leaves look like spinach. The farmer can eat these leaves like vegetables. But if he wants to harvest the quinoa seeds, he has to wait. As quinoa grows taller, its leaves become yellow, purple, or red.
Farmers Harvest Quinoa and Dry It
When the quinoa is finished growing, it is time to harvest it! The farmer cuts down the quinoa plant and lets it dry.
After the plants are dry, the farmer hits the plants with sticks to make the seeds fall off.
The quinoa seeds are really small. They are about the size of a piece of rice.
How Do You Eat Quinoa?
After the quinoa seeds are gathered, people take some of them and grind them into flour. Quinoa flour is used to make cereal, bread, and pasta.
Other quinoa seeds are put into bags or boxes that you can find at the grocery store. You and your family can make some to eat with dinner or for a snack.
Cooking Quinoa Is Easy
You can help cook quinoa for you and your family. Before you cook quinoa, wash it with water. Washing gets rid of a bitter taste on the outside of the seeds.
Here's how: put the quinoa in a pot. Cover it with water. Swish it around. Then pour out the water into the sink. Be careful: don't pour the seeds down the drain! Then your parent can take the quinoa, add new water, and boil it on the stove.
How Does Quinoa Taste?
Quinoa smells really good when it's cooking. It looks fluffy like rice and tastes a little like it, too. It also tastes a little bit like nuts.
Eat quinoa with vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes. Try it with different spices to give it flavor. Hot pepper flakes will make it spicy. Sprinkle in a little cinnamon and raisins to make it sweet. Experiment and find something you like!
Quinoa Helps Your Heart and Muscles
Not only does quinoa taste good, it is really good for you. It has lots of protein. Protein gives you energy. It helps build strong muscles.
Because quinoa is a whole grain, it has vitamins and iron. It also has a lot of fiber. Fiber helps you feel full longer so you don't want to snack on unhealthy foods. Whole grains are great for your heart, too!
Eat Quinoa Instead of Fries
Ask if you can have quinoa with your dinner instead of white rice, white bread, chips, or fries. Quinoa is better for you than those foods.
Quinoa is cool!