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DIY Instant Quinoa
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Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
DIY Instant Quinoa on 12/18/2007 20:54:14 MST Print View

Slowing gaining a following here in the US is Quinoa, a seed that is native to South America. Some of its highlights? It is a complete protein, high in fiber and calories. It is gluten free and cooks up relatively fast.

We get asked a lot on how to make the grain Quinoa more trail friendly. While it is a very fast cooking grain (10-20 minutes) it usually requires rinsing and draining it well before you cook it on trail, as the seeds have a bitter natural coating that must be rinsed away.

If you haven't seen it look near the rice section in grocery stores. It can be used in place of rice or couscous in many dishes.

A standard serving is 1/4 cup dry uncooked. For trail use I would recommend 1/2 cup uncooked. This provides roughly 240 calories, 6 g fat, 10 g protein and 6 g fiber.

To make the quinoa:
Take a fine mesh colander and pour 1 cup uncooked quinoa in it. Rinse it well with cold water and drain. Add it to 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stir, put on the lid and lower the heat to Low. Let simmer gently for 10-20 minutes. It may need up to 20 to absorb all the water.

Once done fluff up and spread on a lined dehydrator tray. Quinoa is very small and will fall through most mesh liners. I would recommend that you line your tray(s) with parchment paper. Dry at 135* till dry. As with rice be sure to check every hour and break up any clumps with clean fingers.

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Serving sizes, weights and volume:
1/2 cup raw=3 ounces
Cooked=1 1/2 cups
Dehydrated=3/4 cup and 3 1/2 ounces

You might think "well, now it is more volume and weighs a tiny bit more, how am I saving anything?". The beauty of it is you don't need to cook it (saving fuel and time) and all you need to do is add a 1:1 ratio of boiling water and let it sit in your cozy for 10 minutes. No cleanup or burnt on messes. Ready to go when you are!

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Use it in any of your favorite recipes, it is nice added to vegetable soups in winter.


Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Thanks on 12/19/2007 02:17:38 MST Print View

Quinoa is great stuff, Sarah. Thanks for the information on how to prepare it for the back country. I can't wait to give it a try!

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
Quinoa on 12/19/2007 11:44:02 MST Print View

Sarah, thank you for this information. We eat this grain at home but I always thought it was too much of a pain to prepare to bring into the back country. I'll be trying this to add variety to my trail meals.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
quinoa tips on 12/21/2007 07:41:54 MST Print View

Just a bit to add. If you are using bulk quinoa that has not been pre-rinsed be sure to rinse it for 3 minutes to remove all of the saponin. Also try toasting it in a dry, nonstick frying pan for a few minutes until the quinoa starts to pop (it will bounce in the pan). The toasting enhances the flavor. I usually do this and just store it in mason jars until ready to use. In A Fork in the Trail I have a quinoa soup recipe. I cook the whole thing at home and then dry it... simple reconstitution and heating is all that is needed at camp. This is a "mother grain" and is a great source of amino acids.