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Friday, March 11, 2016

Quinoa---The Highest Protein Grain

Fields of ready-to-harvest Andes quinoa 

This time next year Wine-Knows will be in South America on tour for the Southern Hemisphere’s wine harvest.  Quinoa, one of the world’s highest protein grains, has always been a crowd-pleaser on our prior culinary & wine trips. We’re counting that this interesting grain will also tantalize the 2017 Wine-Knows crowd.

Quinoa (pronounced keen wah) is native to the Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia.  It is actually the seed from a plant that grows up to six feet tall.  Archaelogical evidence shows that the seed has been used in the Andes’ diet for 3,000 – 4,000 years.  Surprisingly, quinoa is in the same family as beets and swiss chard.  Quinoa has become very popular in many countries around the world the last ten years as nutritionists learn more about the ancient grain (in January of this year Mc Donald’s just quinoa to its menu in Hong Kong).  

Nutritional analysis shows the super-food quinoa is a complete protein, which means it provides all nine essential amino acids for good health, including the heart-friendly Omega 3.  Amino acids are necessary ingredients for a strong immune system and healthy muscles, just to name a few of their many critical roles in promoting good health.  

Not all plant-based proteins, however, are created equal.   Most grains (such as wheat and rice) are missing one or more of the essential amino acids. Quinoa also offers delivers a generous amount of dietary fiber, as well as several B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.  The even better news is that it is gluten-free and easy to digest.  Last but not least, quinoa contains no cholesterol.

But, there’s also bitter-sweet news.  With the rising global popularity of quinoa, many of the people in Peru and Bolivia can no longer afford its price which has risen to keep up with demand.  While attempts have been made to grow it in Colorado’s mountains, it appears that the Andes micro-climate is one of the few places on earth that quinoa can flourish.

We only have 4 seats available on the 2017 harvest trip next March.  All of our previous South America trips have sold out early with waiting lists so we're expecting another sell-out crowd. Please contact us at your earliest convenience if you are interested.

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