Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quinoa Palooza

Do you have to go to the Andes to get your quinoa?

No, you don't, because us greedy Americans are stealing all the quinoa from South America. Although the quinoa-importing business is thriving, quinoa may be a little harder to find than normal fare.

My local, above-average grocery store (read: better than Safeway or the equivalent generic store from your area) sells a limited amount of pre-packaged quinoa. There are 2 varieties, red and white, in small bags that cost at least $6 for one pound. In addition to pre-packaged quinoa, this store sells it in bulk. Usually buying things in bulk is cheaper because of the lack of packaging, and quinoa is no exception to that rule.

But then there's that stigma against buying things in bulk. And all of that attractive packaging:

Alter Eco Rainbow
Rainbow is stretching it. Beige and black are not rainbow colors.

 Bob's Red Mill
Bob sells a lot of other stuff besides grains like flour and seeds. He also teaches you pronunciation.

 Ancient Harvest
This one advertises no rinsing. Although no washing is required, look before you cook; there may be tiny rocks.

 Alter Eco Rainbow #2
Another rainbow misnomer. Bright and festive? Hardly.

 Alter Eco Red
Now we're invoking native American history. Also, Alter Eco is fair trade.

 Village Harvest
Finally a cool picture of the person who harvested your quinoa and his loyal alpaca.

Bulk or Packaged? How do you decide?

I prefer beige quinoa because of the taste. It just so happens that beige is also the cheapest. I've also had few problems with the unseasoned bulk quinoa. More often that not, I've found rocks in the pre-packaged quinoa, which is rather surprising. I think it boils down to this: bulk offers seasoned variety of beige quinoa and is cheaper, while pre-packaged offers the additional red and black quinoa. It all depends on your tastes.

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