Buckwheat seems to have a wandering heart. It first settled into the US when Europeans brought it with them. And they received it from the Romans and other travellers from the east. How far east? As far as Tibet and China
It has always been one of the crucial dependable crops that flourished in poor soil and could be used to make for everything from porridge and stews to Buckwheat cakes, Buckwheat honey and beer.
The taste is dark and nutty and competes and compares well with rice, millet and wheat in our kitchens.
Unlike wheat, Buckwheat does not contain gluten so it may well be a good substitute in recipes for those who are sensitive or allergic to wheat or gluten.
You can cook the Buckwheat groats or seeds just like oats or other grains. The groats may be roasted or toasted first or simply simmered for around 25 minutes with your chosen salt and spices.
I suggest adding sea salt, 1/4 spoonful cumin and chopped garlic and a dash of Tamari. You really just have to experiment and see which way is best for you. Often the Buckwheat bought at the store will be roasted already and this is often called Kasha. More cooking info here
So Should You Buy Roasted Or Unroasted?
I generally avoid buying roasted or parboiled foods since I expect them to have a reduced nutritional value. With Kasha I generally find the taste rather too strong and I try to buy unroasted Buckwheat! And when I say "try" it is because it is not always clear on the packaging so do check for yourself.
How Nutritious is Buckwheat?
This is an ancient food and unusually it is a complete protein, having all the essential amino acids.
The mineral content is quite high, especially of magnesium and Potassium and Phosphorous.
Magnesium is a mineral that most of us need more of. It is not just needed for metabolic purposes but is a major help to relaxation
Because it directly helps to ease muscle tension. An easy and pleasant way to experience this is with an Epsom Salts Bath. All it takes is a cup full of Epsom salts in a warm bath of water and soak in it for up to 20 minutes. Chemically Epsom salts is magnesium sulphate and the magnesium soaks into the skin as does the sulphur. Epsom salts also helps us to detox in a gentle way but only as a bath or foot bath. It should never be taken by mouth – it works very well as a bath!
Vitamins and Bioflavonoids
Buckwheat is a good source of B complex vitamins apart from vitamin B12 which has no food source because it is made by bacteria.
There are several vitamin-like nutrients in Buckwheat including rutin, quercetin and lignans
All nourish the body and help the circulation and drainage work better. Rutin in particular assists strengthen collagen, the main structural protein in Bones, tendons, ligaments and virtually every organ in the body.
Collagen is strengthened by extra vitamin C and bioflavonoids and by Vitamin D3 from sunshine or a supplement but rutin is generally overlooked. Buckwheat to the rescue then because it is probably the richest food source of rutin.
Rutin is particularly useful in any condition of high blood pressure, varicose veins, arteriosclerosis and other circulatory problems.
With so much praise for an inconspicuous little grain you might wonder if there is any ulterior motive? None whatsoever, it is low cost, easy to cook and an extremely nourishing superfood.
Try it yourself and see.