Week of August 5

Buckwheat
(Fagopyrum esculentum)

Delicious and Nutritious, not a grain

buckwheat, ladybug, beneficial insects, cover crop
buckwheat, superfood, nutricious buckwheat groats

Buckwheat is not a true grain yet it’s use is mostly as of a grain, to make bread, soups, pasta etc. It has been a part of diet in Asia and Europe (also known as kasha in Europe) for more than 5000 years. The popular Japanese soba noodles are also made from buckwheat.



Why should you consider including buckwheat in your diet?:

  • Rich source of nutrients including manganese, copper, selenium, zinc, magnesium. It has a good balance of amino acids.
  • Buckwheat has been associated with variety of health benefits such as cholesterol lowering effect, prevention of gallstones, blood sugar stabilization and is rich in antioxidants.
  • It is high in rutin (a flavonoid) which has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Buckwheat groats have low glycemic index (54)
  • It is gluten free
  • Easy to cook and delicious in variety of recipes

Buckwheat does not only excel in the kitchen but also in garden. It is an excellent cover crop. Grow it in summer and cut it down in fall for the fall/winter garden. It absorbs from the soil nutrients specially calcium and phosphorus and makes them easily available to the plants in fall/winter.
Buckwheat in garden will also attract variety of beneficial insects including bees, parasitic wasps, hover flies etc.

Buckwheat groats and flour are available in grocery stores including sprouts and Cielo vista natural market here in El Paso.

Use buckwheat groats in soups and salads. Video of a soup recipe using buckwheat is in the recipe section (whole grain and vegetable soup).
Buckwheat flour can be added to any bread or pasta recipe (use at least 30%-50% buckwheat). As it does not have gluten, higher the content of buckwheat more dense will be the bread.
Buckwheat tortillas can also be made easily at home and could be either 100% buckwheat or mixed with other flours.



References:
USDA National nutrient database

Christa K., Soral-SĖmietana M. (2008): Buckwheat grains and buckwheat products – nutritional and prophylactic value of their components – a review. Czech J. Food Sci., 26: 153–162.

Gunilla Wieslander and Dan Norback: Buckwheat Consumption and Its Medical and Pharmacological Effects - A Review of the Literature. The proceeding of the 8tJ'ISB:608-612(2001)