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#119445 - 08/16/09 02:52 PM Quamping with Quinoa
kevonionia Offline

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
I've become fascinated (or obsessed blush) with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), that looks a little like couscous, although a bit smaller -- like millet.

It's neither a pasta nor a grain, but actually a seed grown on a plant that looks like spinach-on-steroids (some quinoa plants can grow 6 feet tall.) It's been cultivated (originally by the Incans) in the Andes for 5,000 years. (BTW, most quinoa sold here comes from Peru and Bolivia, although they're growing it now at 7K feet on the slopes of the San Juans in Colorado.)

What's special about quinoa is that it has the highest protein of any grain, and contains the amino acids lysine, making it a complete "supergrain" (although it's a seed.) It's also a great source of minerals and vitamins, such as potassium, riboflavin, magnesium and B6.

My wife got me into this, serving it last year and asking me what I thought I was eating. I incorrectly thought it was couscous. Since then we've had it several ways, with corn and black beans in a southwestern style, or with feta and spinach or arugala in a Med-style dish.

Which gets me to quamping & quinoa & some questions:

It seems like this would be a great item to take on bp trips. This tiny seed when cooked increases to 3 to 4 times its volume -- and that fits well into a UL pack.

First, though, is the question of its bitter protective coating, called saponin, that the plant developed to protect it from consumption by birds & from high-altitude sunlight. This needs to be thoroughly rinsed off the seeds before cooking/consumption. Yet I've read that most (all?) quinoa sold in the US already has this task done before packaging. Is this true (Sarbar)? Is there anyway to know if this has been done? I see nothing on the labels of pre-boxed quinoa that gives this info. (BTW all quinoa, being the seed of this South American plant, is gluten-free -- which is proclaimed in bold letters on some brand-name boxes as a nifty marketing tool.)

Second question is cooktime. It's certainly not as quick and easy as couscous, but several sources say it's still faster than rice. I notice on Sarbar's trailcooking blog that she recommends cooking & dehydrating quinoa prior to hitting the trail. But is it possible to take the raw, uncooked grain and cook it on the trail freezer-bag style? I've got a week-long bp planned in September and want to take some (alot) along and want to experiment with a few recipes before the outing. Any suggestions/recipes?

- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)

#119460 - 08/16/09 08:48 PM Re: Quamping with Quinoa [Re: kevonionia]
sarbar Offline

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
You won't be able to FBC it, but you can quick cook it one pot style.

Most brands DO prewash it, though I have heard you can wash and then pan toast it at home. Check the brands - Trader Joe's is ready to use. Get a brand with a short cook time. You can bring it and the water to a boil, steam a few minutes. Then tuck in a pot cozy for 10 minutes. You don't need to cook it the entire time smile

The precooking/dehydrating does allow you to treat it FBC style and use it just like couscous and rice - so it is worth the extra time smile

BTW, try the red quinoa if you can find it. Very good!
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:

#119498 - 08/17/09 02:52 PM Re: Quamping with Quinoa [Re: kevonionia]
leadfoot Offline

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 954
Loc: Virginia
kev, I've used it for breakfasts, lunches and dinners with various items added to it, similar to couscous. It's good as a hot cereal for a change of pace in the morning. I prefer the red quinoa. Yes, it takes a long time to cook. It's nice if you do bulk meals, like taking one item (rice) and using it for just about every meal. A little goes a long way. I use the stuff that comes in a box. It's pre-washed. If you like it crunchy, just don't cook so long. At the time of my experiments with it, I cooked with Esbit, so one tab or 2 Coughlan tabs did the trick.
Earthling shared this idea with me a few years ago. smile

#119500 - 08/17/09 03:10 PM Re: Quamping with Quinoa [Re: leadfoot]
sabre11004 Offline

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
You can also pre-cook the stuff and the dehydrate it. you can rehydrate it very easily on the trail in much less time than it takes to cook it... goodjob goodjob goodjob goodjob
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

#119636 - 08/21/09 10:19 AM Re: Quamping with Quinoa [Re: kevonionia]
mountainhick Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 21
Loc: Colorado
Quewt thread title.

#119639 - 08/21/09 11:53 AM Re: Quamping with Quinoa [Re: mountainhick]
kevonionia Offline

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX

Quewt? THIS is quewt! grin grin
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)

#119664 - 08/21/09 05:19 PM Re: Quamping with Quinoa [Re: kevonionia]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
This is quewt
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.


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