Often mistaken for being a grain, buckwheat is actually a seed and has no relation to wheat or any other cereal. Here’s why it should be a pantry essential.
Buckwheat comes from the seeds of a flowering plant belonging to the same family as sorrel and rhubarb. It was brought to Europe during the Middle Ages, so it’s been a part of our diets for hundreds of years. Today, buckwheat is found in the form of groats (hulled grain), flour, flakes and as an ingredient in pasta and soba noodles. It is an ideal gluten-free alternative to wheat and other common grains. It’s interesting to note that buckwheat hulls are also often used to fill pillows, as they are allergen-free.
5 Reasons to Love Buckwheat
Buckwheat is an easy-to-cook, versatile ingredient
Buckwheat is a great addition to homemade granola and as a topping for any dish that needs crunch. Buckwheat flour can be used to make pancakes and bread and has an earthy, nutty flavour; and they are what soba noodles are made with. You can also substitute buckwheat for other grains for use in salads, soups or grain bowls, or prepare it like oatmeal and have it sweet or savoury.
How to cook buckwheat
Rinse then roast or toast the groats and cook it with a ratio of two parts water to one part buckwheat. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10-12 minutes until tender, and add it to your dish of choice.
Buckwheat is gluten-free and high protein & fibre
Buckwheat has become a popular ingredient due to the upward trend of healthy eating. It has a high fibre content, which helps you feel full for longer and can help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This gluten-free seed also has high levels of protein and contains all the essential amino acids, making it ideal for vegetarian and vegan diets.
Buckwheat is packed with minerals
Buckwheat contains iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and phosphorus – all of which are necessary to maintain good health and lower the risk of ailments caused by a lack of these minerals. The best part is that the minerals found in buckwheat groats are more easily absorbed compared to other grains.
Buckwheat is good for your heart
Any ingredient that can improve heart health should be used regularly. Buckwheat contains several compounds and minerals including rutin, which aids in circulation and is an antioxidant. This gluten-free seed may also lower blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol levels, and is a good choice for people with diabetes.
Buckwheat is a “clean” seed
Buckwheat grows and matures quickly, and is considered an environmentally friendly crop that needs minimal or no pesticides and fertiliser. For those looking to really eat clean, this nutrient-packed seed is an interesting and healthy ingredient to add to your favourite recipes.