Quinoa is a grain similar to rice in that it expands greatly during cooking. Dry quinoa triples in size when cooked and takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked in, making it even better when cooked in chicken or vegetable broth. Whether you are measuring it dry or cooked, this ancient grain is easy to work with and adds a crunchy and fluffy element to whatever you are using it to make.
Measuring quinoa when it is dry is similar to measuring rice or any other grain. Use a dry measuring cup and level the quinoa off using a knife or other clean, flat object. For cooked quinoa, the same method of measurement can be used, though care should be taken not to pack the fluffy quinoa down into the cup. It should not be condensed in any way, but instead gently placed in the measuring cup and leveled off.
Quinoa has a bitter coating called saponin that must be rinsed off before cooking; use a colander before cooking it to thoroughly rinse the quinoa. Add double the water for the amount of quinoa that you are cooking, bring it to a boil, lower the heat and cover it; allow it to simmer until all the water or liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. For a hands-free approach, you can also make quinoa using the same 2-to-1 ratio in your rice cooker. Follow the cooker's directions for cooking the quinoa.
Cooked Quinoa Tips
Quinoa can be cooked ahead of time and saved for meals throughout the week. Cut down on your prep time in the kitchen by using cooked quinoa as needed in baking and fresh recipes. After cooking quinoa, store it in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking to prevent harmful bacteria growth. It can be stored in your refrigerator for three to four days after cooking. If you will not use the quinoa in this time, freeze it for up to one year, and defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Dry Quinoa Tips
Dry quinoa is shelf stable and can be stored at room temperature for two to three years. It can also be stored in the refrigerator, but this does not extend its shelf life and is not necessary. Ensure that quinoa is stored in an airtight bag or container in a cool, dark and dry location to extend its shelf life. Quinoa generally does not become rancid or have any off-appearance when it has gone bad. For this reason, it is important to store it properly and use safe handling techniques and storage when storing and cooking quinoa.
Based in Portland, Ore., Maxine Wallace is a writer with more than 12 years of experience. With a bachelor's degree in journalism and experience working on marketing campaigns for large media agencies, she is well-versed in multiple industries including the Internet, cooking, gardening, health, fitness, travel and holistic living.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images