Many people who are familiar with quinoa seeds as an ingredient in cereal or salads are unaware that this member of the goosefoot family has leaves that are also delicious and nutritious. If you are not a dirt gardener, this plant can be grown indoors in water.
After sprouting some red quinoa seeds that my sister mailed us in the lovely Christmas surprise package she comes up with every year, and after enjoying some of the leaves in an omelette the other day, I got to wondering if anyone else who likes to eat these greens had written about it online. Surprisingly, there were quite a few articles, although most of them were written by people who grow their quinoa outdoors in the soil.
I am a soil-less gardener, however, so I sprouted my seeds indoors in an AeroGarden, and then transferred the plants to hydroton clay pellets when the seedlings took hold. My favorite containers for growing plants such as quinoa indoors in water are recycled juice containers. Round ones work fine, but I prefer the square containers such as Green Machine and Fuji water are sold in. They fit better on a narrow window sill and fit together nicely, as well as looking pretty good.
If you want to know more about the history and uses of quinoa, a good way to search is by typing “Are Quinoa Leaves Edible?” into a search engine. When I did this, the first three hits were delightful. The first one that came up was from a blog called The Edible Garden:
What came up there was actually about quinoa’s close cousin, amaranth, which I also grow for home consumption. Mack’s Garden is delightful, and The Edible Garden featured therein is colorful and interesting.
My next find was All About Quinoa:
That one does not have a lot of pictures, but the recipes look awesome. Besides, I have my own photo of the quinoa we are growing in our AeroGarden:
That seedling is just a few weeks old. All About Quinoa gives so much wonderful and detailed information about this plant favorite of mine that anything I might add would just be repetitive, so on to the next one:
I share Madhavi’s enthusiasm for serving eggs with the tender young amaranth leaves, and quinoa or magenta spreen work equally well. Many of the plants in this family are high in Omega 3 as well as delicious.
Because we move around quite a bit, and do not live in an environment that facilitates dirt gardening, I grow quinoa, amaranth, purslane, and other green leafy plants in water indoors and snip the leaves off to enjoy fresh whenever the occasion arises. These plants propagate quickly from cuttings so all they need is fresh water from time to time, lots of light, and a little liquid nutrient solution.
Published in: Gardening