National Quinoa Day is celebrated on January 16 every year. This day is set aside to honor all things quinoa. A known superfood, quinoa is full of dietary fiber and proteins. Originally cultivated in South America, the popularity of the grain spread in the U.S. as a gluten-free alternative to wheat and wheat-based dishes. The popularity of quinoa has only increased, and now, it’s cultivated everywhere, including Europe, and India. It is also being considered as a solution for world hunger. National Quinoa Day celebrates this superfood and its potential to support people who cultivate it.
History of National Quinoa Day
National Quinoa Day is a day set aside to celebrate the fantastic superfood that is quinoa, and its growing popularity in the food industry. Quinoa has been cultivated for thousands of years by the Andean people. A magical seed that can be eaten as a grain, quinoa was cultivated on the high altitude plains of the Andes — the Bolivian Altiplano.
The Incas and Aymara people (who preceded the Incas) were among the first to domesticate the quinoa plant along with other common crops like potatoes, papaliza, and so on. In an area where few crops could survive, quinoa grew easily. A particularly resilient plant, quinoa can survive drought, hail, high salinity, wind, and frost, which is a good thing in a place like the Andes with limited rainfall and high salinity levels. In fact, the majority of quinoa grown for export today is grown along the Southern Altiplano, near the salt flats.
While quinoa was ignored or looked down on for the longest time, once tractors were introduced to Bolivian agriculture, the gradual growth of quinoa cultivation began. This built up to a quinoa boom once the Bolivian government started exporting it to the U.S. Gradually, the processing of quinoa improved, making it more profitable and widely accessible. As its health benefits were explored, it was discovered that quinoa was packed with a lot of necessary vitamins, protein, and fiber. As a result, it was touted as a superfood by nutritionists and health professionals, which increased its popularity all the more.
National Quinoa Day timeline
The Andean people start cultivating quinoa after domesticating it.
The Bolivian government begins exporting quinoa to the U.S.
The United Nations supports the Bolivian government in the cultivation and processing of this superfood.
The U.N. General Assembly announces the year as the International Year Of Quinoa, seeking to recognize the efforts of the Andean people and draw attention to the role that quinoa could play in eliminating hunger and poverty in the world.
National Quinoa Day FAQs
Is quinoa better for you than rice?
Yes, quinoa is better for you than white rice. It has more nutritional content like vitamins and protein.
What does quinoa taste like?
Quinoa has a somewhat nutty flavor. It has a mild taste, perfect as a base for sweet or savory flavors depending on your preference.
Can quinoa be eaten raw?
No, quinoa should be cooked before eating. Eating raw quinoa can cause digestive problems.
National Quinoa Day Activities
Make a quinoa salad
Quinoa is traditionally eaten in a fresh grain salad. Celebrate National Quinoa Day by putting together a quick and delicious Peruvian salad!
Read about the Andean people
The Andean people were the first to cultivate quinoa. The traditional farming and processing practices were time-consuming but effective, so there's a lot to learn from them.
Organize a quinoa potluck
Get friends together for a quinoa-themed potluck so you can try all sorts of dishes. The best thing is that quinoa is completely gluten-free so your friends with gluten sensitivities can also join in the fun.
5 Facts About Quinoa That Will Surprise You
Food for cattle
When it was first cultivated thousands of years ago, quinoa was fed to farm animals.
Quinoa prices doubled
As quinoa became popular between 2005 to 2010, the prices paid to farmers doubled.
Quinoa and llamas were raised together
Raising llamas along with quinoa helped nourish the land.
Quinoa is kosher
Observant Jewish people frequently use quinoa as a grain substitute during the days of Pesach.
Quinoa is related to spinach
While it's popularly used as a grain substitute, quinoa is actually a seed and is closely related to spinach and amaranth plants.
Why We Love National Quinoa Day
We love trying new food
Quinoa has been popular for a while and people have gotten really inventive with it. We love the opportunity to try all things quinoa!
We get to learn about quinoa
Quinoa is not only delicious and healthy, it's part of a large ecosystem. We want to understand more about where this superfood comes from.
It is the perfect day to share quinoa
National Quinoa Day is a great way to spread information about quinoa. It's an opportunity to share quinoa-based dishes and get people to try them.
National Quinoa Day dates