Kindred Organics: Great Quinoa

Kindred Organics is the first producer of organic quinoa in Tasmania. Henriette and Lauran Damen grow this versatile seed on their 250 hectare organic farm in the state’s North-West Coast.

If you haven’t heard of, or used, quinoa (pronounced keen – wah) then some background might be useful. Quinoa was one of the three staple foods of the ancient Incas who inhabited territory in the South American Andes from Columbia down through Peru and on to Bolivia. It was a staple of their diet along with corn and potatoes. It is still widely grown in those countries today.

Quinoa is often referred to as a grain but it is not a true grain (it is a seed) and therefore appeals to people with gluten allergies. It is also a very good source of protein – in fact probably a better source than milk and has the added benefit of being high in the beneficial amino acid lysine (along with other amino acids). It is also high in zinc, magnesium and iron as well as potassium.

The plant is somewhat similar to amaranth with a large seed head on the end of a stem. The colour of the plant is deep red or rusty. The seeds are coated in a bitter substance called saponin (a soap-like substance) to make them unattractive to birds and insects. Therefore they need to be washed at least three times to remove the bitterness.

All you then have to do is place it in a pot with a bit more water than quinoa – for example use 300ml of water for 250 mls of quinoa – and simmer gently until the water has been absorbed (about 15 to 20 minutes). Leave to rest for a few minutes then fluff up with a fork and you have a substitute for potatoes or polenta.

We have seen it for sale at City Organics and Eumarrah in Hobart as well as various organic web sites.

Kindred Organics also produce other things on their farm including buckwheat, hemp, oats, beef and spelt.

Additional information

Street: 15 Graingers Rd

Town/Suburb: Kindred, 7310

Phone: +61 3 6429 3202