What Is Buckwheat and Where Does Buckwheat Come From?

It’s easy to immediately assume that buckwheat is a grain that contains gluten because of the “wheat” in its name, but buckwheat is gluten-free and in fact has nothing to do with the wheat family. Indigenous to Russia, buckwheat is not a cereal grain as one might suspect, but rather an herb plant with edible, triangular seeds. The flavor of buckwheat is robust and people tend to either love it or hate it from first taste.

Buckwheat comes in the form of groats or kernels that can be used creatively in a variety of recipes ranging from soups and casseroles to desserts and entrees. Groats come in fine, medium, and course versions. Mild in flavor, groats cook particularly fast and have a unique texture that is unlike other gluten-free grains; softly tender with just a hint of crunch, buckwheat groats cannot be compared to rice, quinoa, amaranth, or millet in terms of texture. For recipe ideas, visit The Birkett Mills at www.thebirkettmills.com.

Seek out recipes that feature buckwheat groats coupled with flavors and imaginative ingredients that complement their mild flavor. Consider cream of buckwheat for a nutritious breakfast porridge. Toasted buckwheat, known as Kasha, is a popular dish in Eastern Europe, and the famous Japanese Soba noodles are made with buckwheat, however, beware, because these noodles commonly contain wheat flour.

High in protein and lysine, buckwheat is a nutritious gluten-free option that features an array of vitamins, including B and E, as well as minerals. Buckwheat can be ground into flour, either dark or light, and has a hearty flavor that gives buckwheat pancakes their unique flavor and aroma. Buckwheat flour can be used as a complementary flour to your gluten-free flour blend to impart protein and a rich flavor to your gluten-free baked goods.

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