Those who have eaten buckwheat may have eaten noodles made from buckwheat flour or groats that include buckwheat. We do not think about green leafy vegetables when we think about buckwheat. Well, it is different now. Another way to eat buckwheat is by eating buckwheat microgreens, wherein instead of grain or flour, you will eat dark green leaves and white or cream-colored (sometimes, even pinkish) stems. This is a totally different buckwheat experience for those who will try this for the first time, but considering the flavor, the texture, and the nutrients you are getting, trying buckwheat microgreens is definitely worth it.
Species: F. esculentum
Binomial name: Fagopyrum esculentum
Buckwheat Microgreen Trivia
- Buckwheat is not related to wheat, rather, it is related to rhubarb and sorrel.
- People used to call b0uckwheat “Saracen corn”.
- Humans have been eating buckwheat since the eighth millennium BC.
Buckwheat Microgreen Buying Guide
Buckwheat microgreens are sold in groceries, supermarkets, farmers markets, and other specialty stores. Ask around for local growers so that you can source your buckwheat microgreens locally. When buying buckwheat microgreens, buy just enough that you can eat until the next grocery day, since buckwheat microgreens do not keep for longer than a week even if stored in the refrigerator.
If this is the first time you are buying and eating buckwheat microgreens, try to buy in small quantities first so that you can taste it; should you not like it, you don’t have a lot of buckwheat microgreens to dispose of and you are not being wasteful (you can ask your neighbors if they want it, so someone else can eat it).
When buying, make sure to inspect it thoroughly. See if the leaves and stems are of good quality and appear fresh. It is ok if one or two are wilted, but if most of the bunch are wilted, soggy, and do not appear fresh, do not buy it.
If you are buying seeds so that you can grow your own buckwheat microgreens, this will give you an idea of how many seeds you expect to get from a pack.
- 1-ounce pack contains approximately 8,000 seeds
- 4-ounce pack contains approximately 32,000 seeds
- 1-pound pack or bag contains approximately 128,000 seeds
- 5-pound pack or bag contains approximately 640,000 seeds
- 25-pound pack or bag contains approximately 3,200,000 seeds
Buckwheat Microgreen Production & Farming in Texas
While many microgreens are grown in other mediums including hydroponics, buckwheat microgreens should be grown using soil as a medium.
Buckwheat microgreens are easy to grow. Fill your growing tray with potting soil. Make sure your growing tray has drainage holes. Run a ruler or cardboard over the soil, slightly pressing and compacting it to make sure the soil is even and there are no depressions anywhere. Mist the soil and make sure it is evenly spread on the tray. Using a seed shaker bottle, sprinkle the seeds all over the potting soil on the tray. Make sure that the seeds were soaked in cold water for 12-24 hours before planting, and that the seeds are all rinsed well. Do another round of misting but be careful not to overdo it. Cover the tray and let them sit in a dark place for two to three days. On the fourth day, start light exposure. Do not expose them to direct sunlight. Use grow lights (highly preferred for growing buckwheat microgreens) or the shade from a window. When they are big enough, harvest by cutting them at the base just above the soil.
Germination of buckwheat microgreen seeds will take 2 days. Blackout time is between 4 to 5 days. Harvest is expected in 6 to 12 days.
- Buy buckwheat microgreen seeds from a reputable seed seller or distributor.
- Water from the side of the tray to make sure the weight of the water will not squash the microgreens. Or water it by filling a tray below the growing tray.
- Rotate crop once it is exposed to light to avoid “bending” microgreens.
Buckwheat microgreens are grown and sold in Texas, by local businesses like the Grand Prairie Microgreens in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas. There are also initiatives like the Big Tex Urban Farms that help promote the business as well as the attitude of the public towards microgreens. If you are dining out, there are restaurants in Texas that serve food with buckwheat microgreens.
Microgreens are a fast-growing crop. This means there is very little time for pests to be a problem. If there is a pest problem, it will probably involve aphids and whiteflies. If the problem requires the use of pesticides, make note of the following:
- Aphids – Kill aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
- Whiteflies – Malathion or Pyrethrins are effective against whiteflies.
Buckwheat is native to Central Asia. It is very popular in Russia, Poland, and in many Asian countries like China, Korea, and Nepal. Russia is very important when it comes to the production of buckwheat.
Microgreens began in the US in the 1990s in Southern California and then in San Francisco and its neighboring states in the east. The US, Canada, and Mexico are among the major producers and exporters of microgreens.
Buckwheat microgreens are sold in transparent plastic clamshell packaging. Sometimes, you can find buckwheat microgreens sold in Styrofoam or plastic tray covered with plastic wrap.
Enjoying Buckwheat Microgreens
Just like any microgreens, buckwheat microgreens can be eaten raw and it is crunchy. Just make sure it is washed and cleaned thoroughly. When you eat buckwheat microgreens, you will notice that it has a sour or tangy flavor with a hint of lettuce. Some people develop buckwheat allergies. There is not enough research and data available to know how exposure to buckwheat microgreens will affect people will buckwheat allergy. But considering how the body would react (skin rash, runny nose, asthma, a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure, itching, swelling, and difficulty in breathing), it is advisable to avoid eating buckwheat microgreens if you have buckwheat allergies.
Here’s the upside: buckwheat microgreens are gluten-free. This means this is a great food for people dealing with allergies (except buckwheat allergy). Eating buckwheat also helps to slow down glucose absorption, which is great for diabetic individuals.
If the buckwheat microgreens you bought came in clamshell packaging, use it to store buckwheat microgreens in the refrigerator. If, for some reason, you need to transfer the buckwheat microgreens to a different container, choose a plastic container with a lid. The least ideal storage is glass because it has the most condensation when in the refrigerator and the condensation contributes to the degradation of the quality of the buckwheat microgreens inside. Avoid putting them near the vent of the refrigerator because if the temperature fluctuates, it will affect the condition of the buckwheat microgreens. Put it on the lower shelf where the temperature is more stable. Remember that different microgreens vary when it comes to how long they keep in the refrigerator.
Like any microgreen, the buckwheat microgreen is an excellent garnish or topping for different foods – pizzas, or soups, stews, and curries, for example. Mix this with other fresh greens to make a salad. If you are making a sandwich, replace lettuce with buckwheat microgreens. If you are making scrambled eggs, toss a few buckwheat microgreens in there and make it healthier and more flavorful.
You can also use buckwheat microgreens to make a healthy green smoothie. This is good especially for those who are having difficulties eating solid food.
Buckwheat microgreens contain vitamin B, vitamin C, and other essential micronutrients. The manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc in buckwheat microgreens help the body improve its immunity system. Studies and testing are being conducted regarding the anti-inflammatory properties of buckwheat microgreens.