Buckwheat Nutrition Facts
Buckwheat is a seed often mistaken for a gluten-free grain like brown rice or rolled oats.
Like other seeds, it is high in both protein and fiber, although it’s unique among seeds that we typically eat in that it’s lower in fat and higher in starch.
It is usually found as raw “buckwheat groats.” It’s also made into buckwheat flour that is used in baking. Both are highly nutritious staples to keep in your kitchen, and they can be used in numerous ways. If you’ve never tried this ancient “grain” before, many describe its flavor as earthy, nutty and comforting.
What foods have buckwheat in them? Buckwheat pancakes, buckwheat soba noodles and kasha stir-fries made with veggies like mushrooms. Other ways you can use it at home include adding cooked groats to stews, soups or cold salads; replacing processed breakfast grains with it; and using the flour in muffins and breads, as well as to coat or bind meat when making meatballs.
Top 7 Buckwheat Benefits
Improves heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Contains disease-fighting antioxidants.
Provides highly digestible protein.
High fiber content is filling and helps improve digestion.
Can help prevent diabetes.
Doesn’t contain gluten and is non-allergenic.
Supplies important vitamins and minerals.
How to Cook Buckwheat:
Tips for Soaking, Sprouting and Simmering
Buckwheat is a versatile grain and is used in many different types of food products – everything from granola to Japanese soba noodles. In France, it is often made into crepes. Throughout Asia, it’s used to make soba noodles that are popular in soups and stir-fries. In the U.S., popular buckwheat recipes are those made with its flour, like muffins, cookies, breads and other snacks that are high in protein and fiber, but free of gluten.
How to cook buckwheat (from dried groats):
First rinse them well and then combine with water on the stovetop in a 2:1 ratio, so two cups of water for every one cup of buckwheat.
Simmer them on low for about 20 minutes, checking to see when they are plump and their texture is what you’re looking for.
If they aren’t absorbing all the water and appear to become mushy, try straining some of the water out (some people prefer to use only 1.5 cups of water to one cup of buckwheat to prevent this from happening).
One of the best things you can do to improve the absorbability of the nutrients, plus its digestibility, is to sprout the hulls (or groats). This reduced “antinutrients” that can block a percentage of the vitamins and minerals found in this seed. Sprouting buckwheat groats also reduces enzymes that can make it hard to digest for some people.
To soak and then sprout, follow these steps:
First soak dried hulls in a big bowl of water between 30 minutes to six hours. Then wash and strain the dried groats. Next leave them out in a dish or shallow bowl, on the countertop or somewhere where they will be exposed to air.
Keep them slightly damp by adding just a small amount of water to the bowl/dish, but you don’t need them to be covered in water completely. Try adding just 1–2 tablespoons of water.
Leave them out for 2–3 days, checking for small sprouts to form. Sprouts will vary from 1/8-inch to two inches long. When ready, rinse sprouts well, drain, and store in a jar or container.
Keep in the refrigerator for up to seven days, but every day you need to rinse them to prevent mold and bacteria from forming.
Because buckwheat is a high-fiber food, it’s a good idea to introduce it into your diet slowly and to start by eating small servings. Drinking plenty of water with it and other whole grains/seeds can also help with digestion. Although it is gluten-free, it’s still possible to experience allergic reactions to buckwheat. You should avoid it if it causes any type of serious indigestion, skin rash, a runny nose, asthma, itching, swelling or changes in blood pressure.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.