Saturday, October 9, 2010

the Mother Grain (actually a seed)

I 'winnowed' the quinoa seeds today - they had been drying in the basement for about a month now. I stripped the seedheads off the stalks, rubbed them on a fine sieve over a larger holed sieve, and then rubbed the seedheads in my hands to remove the last of the seeds. 4 plants yielded 2 cups of golden coloured seeds. this is the sushi recipe I used: you must rinse the quinoa seeds very, very well before cooking to remove the bitter saponin coating Here is a basic recipe I use for cooking the grain: In a dry pan over medium-high heat, lightly toast grain until it is lightly brown (about 5 minutes). Then rinse the grain in a fine strainer until the water runs clear (a sieve or permanent coffee filter (not paper filter) work well for straining). In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the water and bring it to a boil. Then add the toasted grain, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with fork and let stand 2 - 3 minutes. The Incas had such reverence for this crop that the Emperor would sow the first seeds of the season using golden implements. I might have to try to find some gold-plated garden tools! I will definitely grow this beautiful plant again - it is stunning with feathery plumes of golden red, is very productive, (although prone to black aphid infestations), and you can eat the leaves like spinach when the plant is young. I plan to make quinoa sushi with the precious harvest, and maybe some recipes from this site:

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