Buckwheat isn’t actually a grain. Instead, buckwheat comes from a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. However, I wanted to include it in my series of posts highlighting my favorite whole grains because its taste and texture very much resemble that of a typical whole grain. Buckwheat can easily act as a substitute for most whole grains.
I love buckwheat because of its intensely nutty flavor. While I’ve mentioned a slightly nutty taste to describe the flavor of the previous grains I have featured, buckwheat contains a distinct, almost roasted nutty flavor. Buckwheat wouldn’t be considered a mild flavored grain. Because of its relatively strong flavor, I actually prefer to eat it plain with just a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. (However, this may be the purest shining through in me, since I tend to like things simple).
Like the majority of whole grains, buckwheat contains not only star quality taste, but some added health benefits as well. Studies have shown that buckwheat can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Just one cup contains 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Buckwheat also has substantial amounts of an array of minerals, which include magnesium, copper, manganese, and phosphorus. What’s particularly special about buckwheat is that it provides a tasty, gluten-free alternative for those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease or have sensitivities to gluten.
Buckwheat is super easy to make, and doesn’t take all that much time to cook. Simply combine one part buckwheat (rinsed) with two parts water in a saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Top with whatever seasonings are desired. As mentioned before, just a little olive oil, and S&P can go a long way. Buckwheat makes a great side dish and is suitable for a delicious breakfast cereal as well. It’s also a great bulking agent to add to soups and stews.
Store buckwheat kernels in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. If stored properly, buckwheat can keep for up to a year.