Buckwheat is a pseudocereal which means that it is technically not a grain, but is used as a grain in culinary terms. Buckwheat was a staple and primary source of carbohydrates for many people until the turn of the 20th century when nitrogen-based fertilizers were starting to be utilized to increase the productivity of other grains. As for the taste, buckwheat tastes like wheat that has been taken up a notch or two with stronger and nuttier undertones that wheat. Texturally, buckwheat has a pleasing firm texture much like couscous, soft, and chewy but not mushy.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Caryophyllales
- Family: Polygonaceae
- Genus: Fagopyrum
- Species: F. esculentum
- Binomial name: Fagopyrum esculentum
- Buckwheat husks are used as pillow stuffing for those with allergies and sensitivities to feathers, dust, and pollen.
- Buckwheat was one of the first crops introduced to America by the early European settlers.
- While it sounds surprising, buckwheat isn’t actually a type of wheat.
- Honey produced from apiaries near buckwheat fields are usually darker and has a stronger flavor.
- Buckwheat has higher mineral and antioxidant content than most grains.
- Buckwheat is not only grown for its nutritional content but as a cover crop for other high-valued crops as well.
Buckwheat Buying Guide
Buckwheat is still not as widely in demand as with other healthy whole-grain alternatives like quinoa or amaranth so you may have a bit of trouble looking for it in just any supermarket. It is available in many specialty stores, health food shops, and farmers’ markets. For the best buckwheat grains, try and contact local farms near you.
Buckwheat Production & Farming in Texas
While a lot of small farms in Texas don’t grow buckwheat as a primary product, many of them will have grains available as they will usually use buckwheat as a cover crop for their other more valuable crops and having the grains as a byproduct. Talk about having some useful byproducts!
Buckwheat can be found in local gristmills, health stores, and farmers’ markets around Texas so if you’re in an adventurous mood or if you frequently use buckwheat grains in your home then you don’t have to rely on big brands to get your buckwheat, you have a lot of choices right in your neighborhood.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
While buckwheat grows well without the use of any pesticide or chemicals, some large-scale producers will spray the young buckwheat with herbicide and pesticides that target the neighboring crops and this overspray will contaminate the buckwheat. The type of contaminant will depend on the crop buckwheat is planted with, but to make sure that your buckwheat is free of pesticides and chemicals, buy local or from those brands that are certified organic.
Buckwheat is packed much like any other grain product. They can be in either non-biodegradable plastic, biodegradable plastic, burlap bags, and resealable kraft bags.
Much like any type of grain, buckwheat can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Buckwheat can be mixed into pudding, made into something like oatmeal, or even tossed into salads much like quinoa. It can even be ground up into flour to make great buckwheat pancakes, waffles, cakes, and even noodles. (P.S. If you’ve never tried Japanese Buckwheat noodles, then we suggest you give it a try)
Make your own buckwheat pancakes:
Make some buckwheat pancakes from buckwheat flour and you’ll never go back to making regular pancakes ever again!
Buckwheat flour, 1 cup
White sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon
Baking powder, 1 teaspoon
Salt, ¼ teaspoon
Baking Soda, ¼ teaspoon
Buttermilk, 1 ¼ cup
Large Egg, 1 piece beaten
Vanilla Extract, ¼ teaspoon
unsalted butter, for cooking.
In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients.
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and whisk until batter is well incorporated and smooth. Let stand for about 10 minutes or until the bubbles are gone.
Heat a non-stick pan and lightly grease the surface with butter. Cook as you would regular pancakes.
Top with your favorite syrup or enjoy as-is!
- Vitamins and minerals: Buckwheat is abundant in many minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. These minerals contribute to a person’s overall health and helps regulate metabolism and other essential body functions.