Buckwheat

by Daphne Lambert

Buckwheat – good for the soil, good for wildlife and good for you!

Buckwheat is not a cereal grain as it is not part of the grass family it belongs instead to the Polygonaceae family & is a relative of rhubarb & sorrel.

It is an easy plant to grow and relatively tolerant of most conditions.

Buckwheat is a very versatile plant and can be used in the following ways;

Improvement of soil fertility - buckwheat is commonly grown as a green manure crop in order to increase soil fertility. It is generally dug in before it flowers at around 10-12 weeks after sowing.

Weed suppression - buckwheat is good for suppressing weeds as it grows rapidly producing masses of foliage that helps to smother weeds. It is not tolerant to frost so can only be grown to suppress summer weeds.

Attracting wildlife - buckwheat produces masses of flowers which are very attractive to hover-flies whose larvae feed on aphids. Buckwheat also provides nectar for foraging honeybees.

Buckwheat seeds - if buckwheat is allowed to flower it will go on to produce a crop of edible and highly nutritious buckwheat seeds. Buckwheat is gluten free and can be eaten by people with coeliac disease or gluten allergies or intolerances. The seeds can be sprouted and used as a breakfast cereal the whole grain can be used in much the same way as you would rice & the flour can be used in breads, pancakes, galettes & noodles.

Buckwheat nutrition

It is high in fibre, providing about 10g fibre per 100g.

Buckwheat is a good source of protein (12- 15%), containing all essential amino acids and being a particularly good source of the amino acids lysine, threonine and tryptophan. Buckwheat is a good source of B vitamins especially niacin and folate and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorus and copper.

Buckwheat contains rutin, a phytonutrient that is not found in other grains. Rutin supports the circulatory system and eating buckwheat has been linked to a lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Buckwheat recipes

Sprouted buckwheat – (for breakfast cereal or salads)

Quarter fill a sprouting jar with raw buckwheat, and fix with a screen lid or net.

Cover with water and leave for 30 minutes.

Drain off the water, through the screen/net rinse very well.

When the rinse water is clear leave to drain.

Rinse 3 times daily.

Once the sprouts have grown to just under half an inch they are ready to use or rinse, drain and transfer to a covered container and store in the fridge.

Raspberry – buckwheat breakfast

Serves 1

handful of sprouted buckwheat

1 tablespoon hemp seeds

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

110g almond milk

1 teaspoon honey

handful raspberries

1 tablespoon ground flax

Soak the buckwheat and seeds with the honey in the almond milk overnight.

Add the raspberries & top with ground flax.

Sprouted buckwheat salad

serves 4

4 handfuls sprouted buckwheat

4 tablespoons soaked sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds

1 red pepper seeded and diced

8 cherry tomatoes halved

½ cucumber finely diced

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

handful of torn basil leaves

teaspoon sea salt

a few twists of black pepper

juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and divide between 4 bowls.

Buckwheat pancakes (version 1)

Makes 8 small pancakes

110g buckwheat flour

25g corn flour

2 eggs

275ml oat milk

pinch salt

little olive oil

Place the flours into a bowl. Add the eggs, milk & salt & beat until smooth. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes. Gently heat a little oil in a small frying pan. Add a small amount of batter, swirl over the base of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Flip over and cook the other side for a further 1-2 minutes. Slide out of the pan onto a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 8 pancakes in total.

Serve your pancakes with anything you fancy, savory or sweet

Buckwheat pancakes (version 2)

Makes 4 - 6 pancakes

275g buckwheat groats

2 tablespoons sauerkraut juice or kefir

1 teaspoon salt

ghee or butter

Place the buckwheat in a bowl, cover well with water and soak overnight. The next morning pour off the soak water and rinse well.

Blend the buckwheat, sauerkraut juice or kefir and salt in a blender with enough water so that it reaches the consistency of pancake batter. Aim to make your mixture as smooth as possible. Pour into a jug which has room for expansion, cover and leave in a warm place for 12 – 18 hours.

Heat a fry pan and swirl a little ghee or coconut oil around the base then pour in enough batter to cover the pan and make a pancake that is not too thick. Cook all the way through before flipping over and cooking for a further minute and sliding out onto a plate.

Repeat until you have made all the pancakes you want. Store unused batter in the fridge where it will last for 3 days.

Serve your pancakes with anything you fancy, savory or sweet

Buckwheat & sour cherry cake

Serves 6-8

200g soft butter (plus a little extra)

200g rapadura sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 eggs

100g ground almonds

250g buckwheat flour

2 tsp gluten free baking powder

100g sour cherries

180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Butter & line with baking parchment a 23cm-diameter cake tin

In the bowl of an electric mixer, Beat the butter & sugar together until very light and fluffy. (either in an electric mixer or by hand)

Add the vanilla, eggs and ground almonds and beat well.

Stir in the buckwheat flour, baking powder and sour cherries. Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.

Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven or until set in the middle.

Let the cake cool slightly before turning out.

Particularly good served warm with a pear or apple puree.

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