Quinoa – a super food from the Andes mountains that is a magical grain and now a hot food product on the international market. This super food is gluten free, low carbohydrate compared to rice and offers 4% protein. How I love Quinoa and what it offers for a healthy lifestyle.
Originating from the altiplano the high altitude regions of Bolivia and Peru, Quinoa was first cultivated by the Andean people some 3,000 – 4,000 years ago. Once dried, its longevity in a dry climate is a staple in the food stores along with Chuno and Tunta, the freeze-dried potatoes of the Altiplano.
There has been a Quinoa Boom between 2006 and 2013 where the prices for Quinoa have tripled. With this increase in demand, farmers in Bolivia have transitioned from potato crops to the much more profitable Quinoa. Three types of Quinoa are grown, White, Red, and Black colored Quinoa. These varieties of Quinoa grow best in altitudes ranging from 8,000 feet to 13,000 feet high and are still harvested primarily by hand.
Painstakingly cutting the stalks, they are stacked in pyramids or stacks to dry in the arid climate. Next, the stalks are thrashed to knock the Quinoa seeds off of the stalks. Thrashing is the next stage where the seeds are cast into the air for the chaff to fly off. A final drying of the Quinoa is needed prior to packaging for selling.
We had amazing views of sweeping red and ready to harvest Quinoa fields throughout our travels between La Paz to Uyuni and further out towards Laguna Colorada. One particular area was huge and I had the opportunity to pull out the drone and get some idea of just how far back the fields really did go. They seemed to never end.
Enjoy this unique view of the Bolivian Quinoa fields, and enjoy some Quinoa for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.
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