If you have emergency rations stashed away, there is one item you should include that is easy to prepare and particularly healthful. It’s the ancient Inca “super food of the gods,” the seed (not a grain) known as quinoa.
Long Lived Seed
Quinoa has been around for more than 5,000 years and is still going strong. Most quinoa is organically grown in the Southern Hemisphere (Bolivia) with the use of traditional farming methods on high-altitude farms without chemicals. It hasn’t been tinkered with to date by genetic engineering (GM), and Southern Hemisphere farmers are fighting hard to maintain their ancient cultivation practices.
Not only is quinoa a complete vegetable protein source, containing all the essential amino acids, it includes a wealth of many of the nutrients the human body needs for optimal health.
A 1-cup serving of uncooked quinoa contains 24 grams of protein, close to 48 percent of the recommended daily value (DV), which means quinoa does not need to be combined with other foods to make a complete protein equivalent to meat, fish, eggs or dairy. It is only 16 percent fat. However, the omega 6 fatty acid content is low and not in the proper ratio to omega 3 fatty acids. So you should also consume foods like fish that are rich in omega-3s.
Quinoa contains virtually no sugars and boasts 36 percent of the DV for carbohydrates (mostly as starch) and a whopping 48 percent DV for dietary fiber. Plus, it tastes deliciously nutty. Even though it is lacking in vitamins C and D, it is a vegetarian powerhouse of other vitamins and minerals. It’s gluten-free. And, best of all, it cooks in 15 minutes.
However, here’s what may be the most important aspect of quinoa: In the event of a disaster with no gas or electricity available for cooking, quinoa can be soaked in water until mushy enough to eat and still provide a belly full of nutritious food.
Furthermore, quinoa can be sprouted for eating as a fresh vegetable; so stock a survival kit with a seed-growing jar and enough water to subsist on. Helpfully, quinoa doesn’t require much storage space and will last for several years in hermetically sealed pouches.
Quinoa can be prepared in a pot with a lid over a camping stove or even over an open-air fire pit since it doesn’t take long to cook. Just remember to have a supply of old-fashioned wooden matches — some independent hardware stores still sell them — to use for fire. While you are at it, get field savvy about edible wild plants that you can chop up and place in the cook pot to make survival stew. Remember, it’s survival food, not a gourmet restaurant meal. However, it will keep you alive and thriving nutritiously.
One caution when preparing quinoa for any purpose: It needs to be rinsed thoroughly to remove the saponin coating on each seed. If not rinsed off, the saponin may convey a bitter taste that overwhelms its delicious, almost sweet, nut-like taste.
The Next Level
To take survival food to a higher level, combine quinoa with survival rations of canned beans (like chickpeas or kidney beans), walnuts, and fresh sprouts grown from alfalfa, arugula, broccoli, clover, radish or other non-GM heirloom sprouting seeds.
If you haven’t yet made food preparations for an emergency, I think you better get started. It’s better to be prepared and not have to use your rations than to need them and have to go hungry.