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Video: Quinoa - A Weed Or An Irreplaceable Spring Green?
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Most gardeners do not favor a plant named "quinoa" at all. Yes, this is understandable, because it is dispersed in the garden in unmeasured quantities, and then in the spring it rises before the crops you have sown, and stands in the beds in a dense forest. And if you do not get rid of the quinoa in time, then you will not find any other seedlings on the ridges.
But there is another side of the question - quinoa can well be used for food in early spring, when we all so want edible vitamin greens. And quinoa is not the last in the list of green crops. Moreover, they have been using it for food since the time of Tsar Pea. Quinoa has long been specially cultivated and eaten in Western Europe and North America.
In Russia, this plant is not particularly cultivated by anyone, but it is widespread in the wild, and, by the way, in the years of famine, this weed saved many from inevitable death: it was eaten raw, bread was baked with it, cabbage soup was made from it. And today in our gardens there have appeared cultural forms of the garden quinoa, which, unlike wild varieties, are not only modest green, but also spectacular red and yellow-green, they are more leafy, and, from my point of view, taste nothing they do not differ.
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Nutritional value and medicinal properties of quinoa
Even the ancient Greek physician Galen noticed that quinoa in satiety is on a par with animal products. Indeed, this plant is very rich in protein. In addition, young leaves and shoots of quinoa are rich in ascorbic acid, rutin, mineral salts and other substances useful for the body.
With practically no smell or taste, quinoa with the addition of aromatic additives, in particular, pepper, parsley, onion, garlic, wild garlic, etc. serves as an ideal component of salads, borscht, soups and side dishes. Dry quinoa is added to flour, which increases the nutritional value of bread, which is also better baked and stored longer. From the seeds of the quinoa porridge is prepared in taste and nutritional value close to buckwheat. They make delicious cutlets from quinoa.
But cutlets are cutlets, and today the most important advantage of quinoa is the ability to make up with its help the spring lack of fresh vitamin greens. Moreover, a significant advantage of the quinoa is the fact that it is not necessary to grow it - it will grow by itself, your task will be not to throw it into the compost when weeding, but to save it for salad.
It is worth noting that the nutritional value of quinoa is not limited to, it is also medicinal. In medicine, quinoa (stems, leaves, flowers, seeds) is used as a remedy against certain gastric diseases. An infusion, a decoction of herbs, leaves in Central Asia is used as a diuretic, hemostatic agent; in some regions of Ukraine and Russia, decoctions of herbs are drunk for jaundice and for coughing, accompanied by a large amount of phlegm.
In some countries of Western Europe, the plant is used fresh, in the form of decoctions, pulp with honey, liniment, plasters for benign and malignant tumors of the larynx. Outwardly, garden swan is used in the form of emollient poultices on large hemorrhoids, on gouty tumors, edematous and swollen joints.
Here are some popular recipes for using quinoa:
- 20 g of dry chopped herbs per 200 ml of boiling water, leave for 1-2 hours, drain. Take 2 tablespoons 3-4 times a day as a diuretic, styptic.
- 5 tablespoons of dry crushed leaves of garden quinoa for 0.5 liters of water, boil for 3-4 minutes, leave for 1 hour, drain. Take 1/3 cup 4-5 times a day for infectious jaundice.
- 2 tablespoons of leaves and flowers of garden quinoa for 1 glass of water, boil for 3-4 minutes over low heat, leave for 1 hour, drain. Take 1/2 cup 3-4 times a day when coughing with difficult sputum.
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Features of agricultural technology
Quinoa is a very cold-resistant plant, and therefore emerges very early and, in general, does not need any special conditions.
However, you can get good salad greens of quinoa only in well-fertilized areas with organic matter and with constant watering - only in this case the greens will be tender and juicy. Otherwise, the quinoa, of course, will also grow, but its leaves will become small and tough, there will be few of them, and it grows quickly into color. Therefore, it is most profitable to grow quinoa in greenhouses as an early green crop, since the soil there is always more fertile and watering is regular.
But if you liked this plant, although from my point of view, spinach, lettuce and Chinese cabbage already appear by the beginning of summer, which are much tastier and healthier for salads than quinoa, then you can sow it at several times. The first time is in early spring, then every two weeks until hot weather sets in (the last time around the end of July - August). After the onset of heat, quinoa quickly turns into color, and therefore it is hardly worth growing it now as a salad plant.
Quinoa is usually sown in two- or three-line rows, located every 30-35 cm. The seeding rate is 1-1.5 g of seeds per 1 m². But in reality, if you plan to use it only in early spring salads, all this does not really matter - you can just sow seeds in bulk in the same way as dill or lettuce is sown for this purpose.
You can harvest the quinoa approximately 20-25 days after germination.
Read the next part: Recipes using quinoa →
Svetlana Shlyakhtina, Yekaterinburg
Photo by Natalia Butyagina and E. Valentinov