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Buckwheat is a pseudocereal grain. The groats may also be called kasha.[1] Common buckwheat and Tartary buckwheat are the types used primarily in cooking.[2]

Characteristics edit

Buckwheat grains are shaped like a triangular pyramid.[1][3] The seed coat is green or tan, while the inner starchy endosperm is white.[2] Buckwheat has a stronger flavor profile than other grains like wheat or oats, and this flavor only intensifies when roasted.[4][2] The grains can be left whole, broken into groats, or ground into a high-protein flour.[1]

Buckwheat contains no gluten, and is therefore safe for those with coeliac disease or gluten allergies.[2]

Selection and storage edit

Like other grains, buckwheat should be kept in an airtight container away from light and moisture. It has a longer shelf life when stored in the freezer.[2]

Use edit

Greens edit

Buckwheat greens can be eaten. However, if they or their juice are consumed in sufficient quantities, they can cause sensitization of the skin to sunlight. Enthusiasts of sprouting eat the very young buckwheat sprouts for their subtle, nutty flavour and high nutritional value.

Groats edit

Buckwheat groats are commonly used in western Asia and eastern Europe. A porridge made from these was common, and is often considered the definitive peasant dish. It is made from roasted groats that are cooked with broth to a texture similar to rice or bulgur.[3] The dish was brought to America by Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants who called it "kasha" and used it mixed with pasta or as a filling for knishes and blintzes—hence buckwheat groats are most commonly called kasha in America.

Flour edit

Buckwheat flour
Soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour

Buckwheat pancakes, sometimes raised with yeast, are eaten in several countries.[3] They are known as buckwheat blinis in Russia, galettes in France, ployes in Acadia and boûketes in Wallonia. Similar pancakes were a common food in American pioneer days. They are light and foamy. The buckwheat flour gives them an earthy, mildly mushroom-like taste. In Ukraine, yeast rolls called hrechanyky are made from buckwheat. Since it is gluten-free, buckwheat flour does not make a good leavened bread on its own.[1][5]

Buckwheat noodles play a major role in the cuisines of Japan, Korea, and the Valtellina region of Northern Italy.[3] In Korea, before wheat flour replaced buckwheat when making many varieties, buckwheat noodles were widely eaten as hot dishes. The difficulty of making noodles from flour that has no gluten has resulted in a traditional art developed around their hand manufacture.

Starch edit

In Korea, buckwheat starch is used to make a jelly called memilmuk. It is also used with wheat, maize, or rice in bread and pasta products.

Other edit

Besides the seeds, from which buckwheat flour is produced, buckwheat is also a good honey plant, producing a dark, strong monofloral honey.

Recipes edit

References edit

  1. a b c d Wolke, Robert L. (2011-01-12). What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel: Further Adventures in Kitchen Science. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-07982-1.
  2. a b c d e "Misnamed Buckwheat Makes a Gluten-Free Substitution for Wheat". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  3. a b c d Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  4. "Good Grains: What Is Buckwheat?". Kitchn. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  5. The Chefs of Le Cordon Bleu (2011-12-02). Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie and Baking Foundations. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-4390-5713-1.