Quinoa is a pseudocereal whose consumption has increased a lot in recent years.
Today, you can even buy various types of quinoa at most health and natural stores.
This article defines which are the types of quinoa, and which color is healthier. Red, white or black? Where is quinoa grown, and what does the plant look like when it grows?
How does the quinoa plant grow?
Quinoa is a plant of the Amaranthacae family, native to the Andean regions of the South American continent. The seeds of this flower are used as food and are rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins and various minerals.
The closest relatives of quinoa are amaranth and the spinach plant. Most of the world’s quinoa grows in Latin America, in the highlands of the Andes.
According to 2018 data, Peru and Bolivia grow up to 99% of the world’s quinoa harvest. (1) In significantly smaller quantities, the harvest is produced in Spain and France.
The widespread use of quinoa in healthy recipes is due to the fact that this crop does not contain gluten. In addition, compared to other cereals, it contains more essential nutrients, such as iron.
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Quinoa varieties, colors and types
There are three main varieties of quinoa: red, yellow, and black. Each of the species differs in both color and flavor. You can also find mixes with all types or tricolor mix. Also, the grain size of the quinoa can be different, smaller or larger.
Keep in mind that from a nutritional point of view, the three types of quinoa have very similar characteristics, that is, it cannot be said that nutritionally one type is much better than the other.
However, the color of quinoa is due to the presence (or absence) of a protective shell that gives it some particular properties.
Yellowish-white quinoa has a milder flavor and is traditionally used in cooking and baking. Red and black quinoa, on the other hand, has a denser texture and is better to add to salads.
Related: Healthy Eating Rules
What is the best type of quinoa?
While light-colored quinoa is excellent both as a hot garnish and added to baked goods (in the form of flour), the red and black varieties are characterized by a slightly bitter, walnut-like flavor, plus the rind. gives it a crunchy appearance. The darker the color, the crunchier the quinoa.
Tricolor quinoa (a mix of three different types) has more versatility. This variation is more suitable for salads; however, if you like a softer consistency, you can use regular white quinoa.
We remind you that it is recommended to store the open quinoa bag in a dark and cool place. The taste of cereals is also influenced by the fact that it is able to absorb odors. When stored in an open package, the bitter taste can become more noticeable.
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Why is quinoa so expensive?
Despite the fact that the yield of quinoa is three times higher than that of other pseudo-cereals, such as buckwheat.
The cost of quinoa is significantly higher in most countries. The reason for the high cost is that the plant is more demanding on growing conditions and does not tolerate low temperatures well.
In fact, the high price is due to the shortage of cultivation and transportation. In addition, in the aforementioned countries, Peru and Bolivia, quinoa production is traditionally occupied by small farms, which is why they coexist with other varieties and types of cereals.
Quinoa is a pseudocereal crop grown in the highlands of Latin America. While there are several varieties of quinoa that differ in color, their nutritional profile is identical, the only difference being the bitter taste and the characteristic crunch of the teeth for the darker varieties.