We use quinoa in all our recipes and have done since we launched Plum in 2006. We believe it’s the perfect grain for your baby – much better nutritionally than rice and completely gluten free!
what is it?
Ok, technically quinoa is actually a seed (about the size of a sesame seed) derived from a plant that grows at very high altitudes in the Andes mountains in Central and South America.
A main staple of the Inca diet for thousands of years, they referred to it as the ‘sacred grain’ because of its nutritional properties. The Spanish colonists scorned quinoa as peasant food and the Incas were forced to grow wheat instead, but over the last decade quinoa has seen a revival due to its excellent nutritional profile. It has a mild, nutty flavour and is often used like a grain.
why is it good for my baby?
Quinoa has nutrition experts (including ours) excited because of its exceptionally high protein content of 12 to 18% – compared with 7% in rice.
Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein because it contains all 9 essential amino acids. In particular quinoa is high in lysine, an amino acid important for tissue growth and repair. Lysine also helps boost the body’s calcium absorption, building strong bones.
Quinoa is also high in fibre (it has 50% more fibre than brown rice) and iron. It is naturally gluten-free making it easy for babies to digest but also has a low glycaemic index – meaning your baby will digest it slowly and it will keep them feeling full for longer. It’s also a natural source of Vitamin E and Vitamin B1, along with most of the minerals needed by the human body – calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium and copper.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation considers quinoa a ‘super crop’ as the only vegetable source that is a complete protein, while NASA has plans to use it to feed astronauts on lengthy space missions!
why and how does Plum use it?
By adding quinoa to our Stage 1 products, we are offering additional protein into babies diet that is ‘lost’ from when babies drop a feed when first weaning. Protein generally isn’t added back into babies diet until the introduction of cheese, fish & meat at Stage 2.
Many ‘pure’ fruit purees on the market do not contain the required protein content to constitute a meal as defined by European infant food legislation. By adding quinoa to our recipes it improves the protein content of each of our recipes ensuring that they meet the nutritional requirements of baby food meals.
We use a flaked form of quinoa, specially prepared for us to meet baby food production standards. This avoids its traditional chewy texture resulting in a supergrain that’s packed with goodness but lovely and smooth – perfect for baby and reassuring for you.
where do you source your quinoa?
Our quinoa comes from the Altiplano highlands in southwest Bolivia. A project with the French company Markal and the Bolivian company Sindan Organic SRL ensures that we are buying a quality organic product from farmers who get a fair deal.
Sindan Organic SRL are the first BRC Accredited Bolivian exporter of Quinoa and have developed a strong relationship with the farmers and take care of cleaning, drying and packing the quinoa in an exclusively organic facility.
- The farmers profit most from the organic quinoa. From the total amount of export benefits they receive 92%.
- The price they receive is 15% more than the conventional market.
- The small farmers get financial support for planting.
- The farmers learn how to keep the soil fertile in a natural way and they get technical support and organic fertilizer for their land.
For more information about the project in Bolivia or our commitment to CSR please contact us.
can i cook with it too?
Of course! It might not be a household name yet, but you can find quinoa in health food shops, and now most larger supermarkets stock it too.
It can be prepared much like rice – two parts water to one part quinoa, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. You can tell when it’s done because the seeds will have puffed up and have a little white thread curled around them. It has a light, fluffy texture when cooked – similar to couscous but with a little more bite.
Use it to stuff vegetables like peppers or butternut squash, stir it into soups, casseroles or serve it with stir-fries instead of rice. Cold cooked quinoa makes a delicious and different addition to salads. These earthy, nutty grains can even give you a morning boost eaten in place of your usual breakfast cereal or porridge with some Greek yogurt, honey and fresh fruit.
Comments are closed.