Hulled buckwheat are the ‘’rice’’ of Nordic countries. This versatile, nutritious seed is packed with nutrients such as iron. It’s also rich in dietary fibre, which helps regulate digestion, as well as magnesium and calcium. This small triangular seed contains up to 12% of its own weight in protein. It also contains fagopyritols, that help lower cholesterol and control diabetes, as well as tryptophan, which the body converts into the sleep hormone melatonin. Despite what its name might suggest, buckwheat is naturally gluten-free and is processed in a dedicated 100% gluten-free facility.
Buckwheat is native to Asia and more specifically the south-western area of China where it was domesticated over 3000 years ago. It was introduced to Europe during the Middle Ages, after becoming very popular in Russia. In North America, it was planted by early settlers because it had the ability to “open the floor ‘and rid it of weeds. Today, it is source of food for humans and animals. Buckwheat is used as a natural herbicide and fertilizer in organic growing to rid the soil of weeds. Buckwheat also helps supplement the soil with phosphate, an essential nutrient for crop growing.
Buckwheat can be used in many ways: you can eat it on its own as a side, use it as a substitute for rice in risotto, as a base for a hearty salad, in a granola or energy bars. It can also be ground into flour and used to make various baked goods and traditional Breton galettes. We love buckwheat for its nutty, slightly astringent taste and great texture. It’s a welcome addition to any well-stocked pantry. Buckwheat seeds can be cooked by pouring a cup of buckwheat in 2 cups of boiling water for about 15 minutes over low heat. Just beware that if it is overcooked, it will become pasty. Buckwheat can also be eaten cold in salads, hot as a side dish to replace rice or pasta or even as a hot cereal for breakfast.