Buckwheat has been on our shelves for a few years now in the course of the wholemeal boom. It is worth getting to know this so-called pseudo-cereal with its culinary and health benefits!
- ...contains important nutrients. A balanced mix of minerals including magnesium, potassium and iron makes buckwheat a valuable superfood.
- ...protects your cells. Buckwheat contains up to 2.1 milligrams of vitamin E per 100 gram serving, which helps protect your cells from free radicals that can cause aging and disease.
- ...can help you look your best. Buckwheat’s high silica content makes hair shiny and your fingernails strong.
- ...might help prevent diabetes. In Mongolia, where buckwheat is a daily diet staple, only 2% of the population has diabetes. Those who have already been diagnosed can also buckwheat to have a positive effect on their blood sugar levels.
- ...strengthen your bones. Buckwheat contains three times as much lysine as most other vegetables, a valuable nutrient that helps build strong bones.
- ...is gluten-free. If you can’t tolerate gluten, buckwheat is a great option for you. It has many of the same nutrients as grains, without the gluten.
- ...can be harmful in excess. The outer layers of buckwheat contain a substance called fagopyrin, which in children and sensitive adults can cause the skin to react more severely to sunlight or mild burns.
What to Know About Buckwheat
Despite its name, buckwheat has nothing to do with wheat. Although the peeled seeds look almost identical to wheat grains, the plant with the bright, small flowers belongs botanically to the knotweed family. Buckwheat is therefore gluten-free and suitable for those with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Buckwheat is an integral part of the culinary traditions of countries from Russia and Poland to Mongolia. Although not as popular in the U.S., buckwheat’s healthy qualities have made it more common in recipes and and restaurants in recent years.
Buckwheat originally comes from Russia and also Brazil.
Buckwheat has a nutty, slightly bitter and very strong taste, and a grey color.
Find all our buckwheat recipes here.
How Healthy is Buckwheat?
With around 10 percent high-quality protein, buckwheat is a very nutritious plant, with even more protein than wheats such as spelt and millet! Buckwheat also contains three times as much lysine as most other cereals. This essential protein building material ensures strong bones, among other things. Buckwheat is also rich in vitamin E, B1 and B2, and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium as well as silicic acid.
Nutrition experts point out that children should only eat peeled buckwheat, because the red pigment from the fruit husk, called fagopyrin, makes the skin more sensitive to the sun and can even lead to inflammation.
|Buckwheat Nutritional Info (100 g)|
Shopping and Cooking Tips
Buckwheat is available in health food shops and organic food stores in a variety of different forms, from whole grains and flakes to flour. Even big-box supermarkets have begun to carry buckwheat products in recent years.
Since buckwheat oxidizes and becomes rancid relatively quickly, you should only buy as much of it as you can consume in a week or so. Make sure to store buckwheat in a darker area, as it is sensitive to light.
Always wash unpeeled buckwheat thoroughly before preparing it. Ensure as much of the red dye as possible has been washed from the husk before eating.
What To Make With Buckwheat
Buckwheat grains are a great substitute for rice. They also enrich soups or can be sprinkled over salads when cooked or pan-roasted. Buckwheat flakes taste good in muesli and give meatballs a great taste when used as a substitute for breadcrumbs. Buckwheat flour is even suitable for Christmas cookies and many other sweet and savoury dishes.
Buckwheat can also be used as a substitute for risotto; Simply let peeled buckwheat grains swell in broth like rice. The leaves and flowers of the buckwheat plant can also be brewed as tea when dried.