What is buckwheat ?
Buckwheat is one of the unsung heroes of the superfood world. Despite being around for thousands of years, many remain unaware of its incredible health benefits, its versatility and just how easy it is to add to your diet. Not a grain, and not related to wheat, buckwheat is actually the seed of a plant related to rhubarb. It can be used like a grain, but it’s gluten free and outperforms grains like corn, wheat and rice on virtually every nutritional measure.
1. Gluten Free
Buckwheat, despite its name, is not wheat. It is actually a seed! This means that it is gluten free and safe for people with celiac disease.
2. Raw Buckwheat
These are the whole, triangular shaped seeds of the buckwheat plant, also known as groats. They are commonly cooked in water to make a wholesome breakfast similar to porridge. Groats can also be added to soups or stews in place of barley or boiled and eaten like rice. They’re good in salads, raw or cooked, and are easy to sprout.
3. Buckwheat flour
Made from whole ground buckwheat groats, buckwheat flour is a simple way to introduce buckwheat to your diet. Use it in gluten-free recipes, pancakes, cakes and biscuits (although it is quite dense so you usually have to mix it with something like almond meal/brown rice flour/potato flour to makes recipes lighter). You can also use it in pizza bases, home-made pasta and traditional Japanese soba noodles.
These are activated (soaked) buckwheat groats, which are then dehydrated at a low temperature and often mixed with a sweetener or flavourings such as cinnamon. They are a tasty and nutritious little snack, great in trail mix, served with milk for breakfast, or sprinkled on smoothies.
Although buckwheat is not a grain, it is often referred to as a 'pseudocereal'. Buckwheat seeds must first be de-hulled and then the remaining seed material, know as 'groats', can be ground into a flour.