Quinoa facts for kids

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Quinoa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Genus: Chenopodium
Binomial name
Chenopodium quinoa

Quinoa (Spanish: quinua, from Quechua: kinwa) is a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium). It is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.

Quinoa is not a real cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth. Quinoa greens are not widely available for purchase. Quinoa gives high quality protein and other nutrients. It has been called a 'superfood'.

Lanscape with Chenopodium quinoa Cachilaya Bolivia Lake Titicaca
Chenopodium quinoa near Cachilaya, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Quinoa is not a grass, but rather a pseudocereal botanically relative to spinach and amaranth, and originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America. It was first used to feed livestock 5.2-7 thousand years ago, and for human consumption 3-4 thousand years ago in the Lake Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia.

Today, almost all production in the Andean region is done by small farms and associations. Its cultivation has spread to more than 70 countries, including Kenya, India, the United States, and several European countries.

As a result of increased popularity and consumption in North America, Europe, and Australasia, quinoa crop prices tripled between 2006 and 2013.

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Quinoa Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.