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Buckwheat: a fantastic pseudo-cereal

Buckwheat is a plant whose grains have many properties. With this guide, you will discover all of them. Let’s start!

  • Is buckwheat a cereal?
  • Nutritional values 
  • The plant
  • How is it cultivated?
  • Properties
  • Buckwheat in the kitchen 
  • Some curiosities 

Is buckwheat a cereal?

Have you always thought that buckwheat was a cereal? Well, that’s not true. The word “wheat” can make you think buckwheat is a cereal, but buckwheat is not part of the family of the Graminaceae plants but of the Polygonacees. However, buckwheat is considered at the same level as cereals because of its nutritional characteristics and its uses that are very similar to them.

Which properties does buckwheat have?

Buckwheat’s nutritional values: the super nutritious (almost) cereal

Buckwheat is considered a real “superfood”, along with quinoa, teff and amaranth.
What does this mean?

Because of its high nutritional properties and its ease of cultivation, it will be a vital grain to feeding the world population.

We will talk later about its properties, for now it is enough to point out that buckwheat is very rich in protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins and essential amino acids.

Let’s talk about the plant now!

Buckwheat plant: fast and tenacious

Buckwheat is an herbaceous plant originally from Asia (Siberia and Manchuria) that came to the western hemisphere during the Middle Age thanks to the Turkish population.

The plant reaches a meter in height and it produces pretty white and pink flowers, which will turn into the seeds we all know (about 3 months, usually). The buckwheat plant grows very fast!
In addition, this plant is quite resistant (although it suffers in the cold frosts), and does not require a special care such as irrigation or fertilization.

Let’s see how it is cultivated.

Buckwheat cultivation: from sowing to harvest

As we have said in the previous paragraph, the buckwheat plant fears the frosts. For this reason, it is very important to sow the small grains during the warm months, from April to June. Because of its fast growth, buckwheat soon develops its flowers that later will become nutritious seeds rich in starch and protein. These will be ready for harvest from August to October; it is possible complete two sowings and two crops in the same season!

The buckwheat seeds do not mature all at the same time. At harvest time, most of them are ready but some are premature. In that case, they are left for a few days in the sun, so that they can fully mature.

Here is when we come to the most important part dedicated to the properties of this fantastic seed!

Buckwheat properties: a high-quality seed

Buckwheat is considered a “superfood” and has many surprising properties and nutritional features. Here are the mains one we thought were worth mentioning- 

Buckwheat and gluten

Good news: buckwheat is naturally gluten free! This makes it perfect for celiac, intolerants, or for those who follow particular diets.

Buckwheat and protein

Buckwheat contains a very high quantity of appreciated high quality protein.

Rich in amino acids

The buckwheat seeds contain essential amino acids that are fundamental elements for the health of our organism. Our body fails to produce them autonomously and it is therefore a necessity to introduce them through nutrition making them a crucial and valuable to our nutrition.

Buckwheat and components

Buckwheat seeds contain an interesting amount of starch, in addition to fibers, minerals and vitamins.

How to cook buckwheat? Here you can find some suggestions:

Buckwheat can be found in the market in two main forms: in grain or in flour. Both are very versatile, so let’s see how both of them can be used!

Buckwheat grains

Buckwheat grains can be used both for first courses and for delicious vegetable dumplings. However, before starting any preparation, remember to wash them to remove any traces of saponin and then cook them for about 20 or 30 minutes in boiling water.

Once cooked, you can eat them in soups, with vegetables or you can use them to prepare healthy vegetable salads or cold salads.

Buckwheat flour

The buckwheat flour is great. It has a mild aroma of hazelnuts that will give all your dishes a refined and delicate scent. It can be used both in the preparation of cakes and salted products and it is perfectly matched with dried fruits or blueberries.

Because of the various uses, buckwheat is used in the traditional cuisine of many countries.

In the Anglo-Saxon world, buckwheat is an ingredient in different dishes; porridge, cakes, biscuits and the famous galettes bretonnes. In India it is used to make chapati, a very simple bread, In Russia, buckwheat is the basis for kasha, a kind of porridge and in Japan it is the main ingredient in soba noodles, the famous Japanese “spaghetti.”

Finally, a little curiosity: the buckwheat honey!

Did you know that from the small white and pink flowers of buckwheat it is possible to get a very tasty honey?

Buckwheat flowers bloom between July and August and bees extract the precious nectar from them. The resulting honey has a very dark color, almost black, with an intense aroma and a flavor reminiscent of hazelnuts.

Do you want to find some other curiosities about buckwheat? Read our article “Do you really know the buckwheat seeds? Here are 4 curiosities!”

Now that you know more about buckwheat, you just have to try it!


Quinoa Seeds: All you need to know about the “mother of all seeds”

Quinoa seeds are small but they have a big heart. Here is all you need to know about this super-grain.

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