Buckwheat – October 2001
Buckwheat – Fagopyrum esculentum
Native to Russia, Buckwheat is one of that continent's oldest and most traditional of foods. In medieval Russia the word kasha which now only means cooked buckwheat groats used to mean meal or feast. Buckwheat is the hardiest
of cereal plants because it can endure very cold weather, which makes it ideal for growing in Canterbury!
Buckwheat is a substantial and strengthening grain. It is digested more slowly than other grains and so is filling and beneficial to those with blood sugar imbalances.
Factually Buckwheat is not a grain or a wheat but the seed of a plant related to rhubarb and dock. Interestingly it apparently inhibits the production of melanin and intensifies the body's absorption of the sun's rays. According to the folk wisdom of the American South, buckwheat lightens the skin.
Buckwheat contains no gluten though it has a gluten analogue which behaves in a similar way to grain gluten, many people allergic to grain gluten can tolerate buckwheat.
Buckwheat is a great crop in that it naturally resists pests, thrives without fertilisers and matures in less than 60 days. This makes it an excellent green manure crop. The buckwheat produced in Canada's cold climate is of such
exceptional character 80% of it is exported to Japan to make soba noodles.
Buckwheat is high in thiamine, riboflavin, and other B-complex minerals with generous amounts of calcium, Phosphorous and other minerals. Its outstanding nutritional characteristic is its high lysine content (6.1%). Lysine helps
the body convert and utilise protein and the body can utilise 74% of the available protein in buckwheat, which is the highest utilisation percentage of plant proteins (Brown Rice is 70%, Wheat germ 67% and Soy 61%) It is a blood building food that neutralises acidic wastes, benefits circulation and strengthens the kidneys.
Buckwheat is higher in iron than cereal grains. It is not recommended however, for those suffering from skin allergies or cancer.
Buckwheat Hulls are cooling. Used as a stuffing for pillows they make a pleasant crinkling sound and do not retain body heat.
Basic Boiled Buckwheat
2 cups organic buckwheat, washed
4 cups boiling water
Pinch of sea salt
Chives, spring onions or parsley finely chopped for garnish
Heat a heavy frying pan or pot and dry roast the buckwheat stirring constantly.
Roast until it becomes dry and releases a nutty fragrance. Be careful not to burn it.
Place the salt and buckwheat in a pot of boiling water cover and cook on medium low, simmering for about 20 minutes.
Garnish and serve hot.
Buckwheat and Rice Burgers
2 cups cooked buckwheat
2 cups cooked brown rice
½ cup onion minced
¼ cup celery minced
¼ cup carrot minced
2 tbsp parsley minced
¼ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds roasted
½ cup water
2 – 3 tbsp wheat flor or rice or buckwheat flour
2 –3 tsp tamari
½ tsp ginger minced finely
Place the buckwheat, rice and all ingredients except the oil in a mixing bowl. Mix and form into burgers.
Heat enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of a skillet. Fry the burgers till golden brown.
Serve as is or with a sauce or gravy.
Kasha and Vegetables
3 – 4 cups cooked buckwheat
½ cup onion diced
1 cup leek chopped
½ cup mushrooms sliced
½ cup carrots sliced in matchsticks
1 tsp ginger minced
Spring onion for garnish
Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet. Sauté the onion for 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté a further 1–2 minutes. Add the carrot and leek.
Place the cooked buckwheat on top of the veges. Reduce to low, sprinkle over a few drops of tamari and cover. Fry till the veges are tender and the buckwheat is hot.
Add the spring onions and a few more drops of tamari and cook 1-2 more minutes. Remove the cover, mix the veges and the buckwheat and serve.
Buckwheat Pancakes (Blinis)
1 cup buckwheat flour
2 cups wholewheat flour
1 tsp active dried yeast
1 – 1 ½ cups warm water
¼ cup oil
1 tsp honey
Mix yeast and honey with the warm water. Leave to rise for 10 minutes.
Whisk in the wheat flour, buckwheat flour and oil to form a smooth batter.
Pour about ¼ cup batter onto a hot lightly oiled pan and cook for about 2 minutes each side
2 cups buckwheat groats
25g butter or margarine
1 chopped onion
freshly chopped parsley
salt and pepper
2 cups water
Cook onion and spices in the butter and mix in the groats. Add water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Before serving fluff with a fork and sprinkle with salt and parsley
At Piko we sell buckwheat products from Terrace Farm in Canterbury.
All their buckwheat is grown and processed to certified Demeter standards. The freshness and quality of their products are fantastic.
Try for yourself, we supply:
Buckwheat Groats - buckwheat seed with the husks removed which can be served instead of potatoes and rice $5.49/kg
Kibbled Buckwheat – coarsely cracked buckwheat, use in breads as an ingredient or a topping, makes excellent porridge $3.15/500g
Buckwheat flour – bakes well and makes excellent sauces $5.46/kg
Buckwheat semolina – great for porridge or use instead of breadcrumbs $3.15/500g
Psst – the organic asparagus and Haas avocadoes are peaking – don't miss out!