A love letter to... British Quinoa

Husk & Honey’s award-winning Quinoa & Buckwheat granola is a uniquely textured granola made with British pressed rapeseed oil, earthy buckwheat, nutty, robust Scottish oats and a touch of wildflower honey. One of their best-selling and original granolas, the recipe tells the story of farmers, suppliers and produce coming together, in the literal clusters of granola, and also through the network of people passionate about doing business in a way that revolutionises our food system.

Husk & Honey started out with just two core varieties of granola: Oat & Nut, and Quinoa & Buckwheat. From the outset, their intention was clear; to use exclusively ethical, sustainable, and wherever possible, locally-sourced ingredients. This presented a challenge in deciding to use the quinoa grain, which at the time provided another troubling example of a traditional local staple food rising to become a global commodity at a high environmental and social cost.

Quinoa is a grain originating, notably, from Peru, Bolivia and Chile where it has been eaten by the people in the Andes Mountains for thousands of years long before Europeans colonized South America. Quinoa has only very recently become a part of UK diets, caught up in a sensationalist ‘superfood’ craze, yet the unprecedented surge in demand has put pressure on South American farmers to turn land that once hosted a diverse array of crops into a quinoa monoculture. Consequently, many Bolivians can no longer afford to eat the staple grain. However, it doesn’t have to be this way, and the solution doesn’t have to be to stop eating quinoa either.

Husk & Honey’s quinoa is supplied exclusively by Hodmedod's; an independent food business based in Brampton in Suffolk that works to source and supply grains, beans and pulses from British farms – including British quinoa. Hodmedod's is at the forefront of the British farming movement, demonstrating that quinoa can be successfully grown in the UK.

Not only is it possible in UK soil, doing so results in a high-quality yield, tasting uniquely nutty and positively supporting UK farming and its great contribution to soil biodiversity. Whilst quinoa from South America has to be ‘polished’ through a process that removes the outer husk of the grain in order to rid it of bitter-tasting compounds called saponins, the British quinoa from Hodmedod's requires only a light polishing, helping to retain nutrients and produce a stronger, nuttier flavour without any bitterness.

What’s more, whilst it is possible to produce puffed quinoa by toasting small batches in a pan, this method isn’t reliable or efficient at scale; Hodmedod's is able to supply the Husk & Honey granola production with quinoa in its puffed form.

Behind an interest in the social, political and environmental context surrounding quinoa is a love of quinoa itself as an ingredient that elevates the flavour and texture of Husk & Honey’s granola recipes. A combination of puffed quinoa, puffed buckwheat and certified gluten-free oats form the perfectly bite-sized clusters of the Quinoa & Buckwheat granola. When compared with traditional plain oat-based granola, this blend is noticeably lighter with a more variegated texture and excellent nutrient profile, including all nine amino acids that mean quinoa is considered a complete protein.

Whilst it is delicious simply served with fruit and yoghurt, this blend is a great compliment to pure vanilla ice cream (along with a drizzle of intense olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt – try it to believe it!) or as part of a summer fruit crumble topping. Children seem to particularly love the texture of the Quinoa & Buckwheat granola; an excellent and nutritionally rich alternative to many of the junior breakfast cereals customers around.

Ethical, sustainable, nutritious and above all, delicious. What’s not to love?!


Written by Emma Louise Pudge | @emmahitsthespot

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