What is Buckwheat. How to Sprout it?
What is Buckwheat? Although buckwheat may look and taste like a grain it is actually not a grain at all. The buckwheat seeds are the fruit of the Buckwheat plant, closely related to Rhubarb and the herb Sorrel. The whole buckwheat seeds are triangular in shape with a black outer hull. When the hull is removed, it contains a singular inner seed or kernel that is greenish yellow in colour. The hulled buckwheat (or buckwheat kernels) are more commonly available in supermarkets and ground into flour for baking.
Where does it come from? Buckwheat has been providing an important source of nutrition to the human population for as long as 8000 years. It first appeared as a cultivated crop around 4000 – 6000BC in Southeast Asia and then spread to Central Asia, Tibet the Middle East and Europe.
What are the benefits of Buckwheat? If you are not already using this fabulous grain there are many reasons why you should. Apart from having a beautiful flavour buckwheat has a lot more to offer, including:
- It’s a complete source of protein. Contains all 8 essential amino acids and is one of the most complete sources of protein on the planet.
- It does not contain gluten or wheat as the name may infer.
- It is a rich source of lecithin which neutralises toxins and purifies the lymphatic system. It balances cholesterol by soaking up the bad cholesterol and prevents it from being absorbed.
- It contains high amounts of rutin which is a compound know to strengthen capillary walls. Therefore buckwheat is a superfood for people with varicose veins or hardened arteries or haemorrhoids.
- It is colon cleansing.
- It alkalises the body helping to cleanse and detoxify body.
- It has a lower glycemic index making it a safer choice for diabetics and pre-diabetics.
- It provides a rich source of iron.
- It is a powerhouse of vitamins & minerals – a bioavailable source of calcium as well as boron which helps to harden bones and protect against osteoporosis. Sprouted Buckwheat is also high in magnesium, B-Vitamins, phosphorous & potassium.
Why Sprout Buckwheat? Sprouting is an age old tradition that was common practice across many ancient cultures that ate grains/seeds. Sprouting essentially brings the seed to ‘life’ unlocking the goodness it holds within! Many traditional cultures realised and valued the importance of careful grain & seed preparation to enhance the nutritional benefits of these foods. You can read more about the benefits of these traditional methods of grain/seed preparation here, but the main benefits are that it enhances the digestibility of the grain and therefore increased the nutritional benefit to humans whilst reducing the anti-nutrient affects that grains/seeds can pose in our bodies.
How do you eat Sprouted Buckwheat? Buckwheat would have to be our preferred choice when it comes to grains and as we said, technically it isn’t really a grain at all. We use it for pikelets, pancakes, porridge, granola & fritole.
- Buckwheat kernels
- Soak whole or hulled buckwheat in filtered water for 2-4 hours (less in summer, more in winter).
- Drain & Rinse under cool filtered water.
- Let sit in colander in warm spot.
- Rinse & stir 4 times a day until small sprouts (tails) emerge from the pointed end of buckwheat. Tails only need to be about 1-2mm long.
- Dehydrate at low temp (about 37c) for about 6 hours or until dry and crunchy. Alternatively you can sun dry it.
- Grind into flour in thermo-mix or flour mill.
- Do not soak buckwheat for more than the recommended time.
- It works well to sprout large quantities of buckwheat when the weather is right, using natures elements....water and sun (just beware of free ranging animals)
- Soak as above, but then spread onto fly screen door, place in dapple shaded spot and lightly spray with water and mix around 2-3 times a day, until sprouted.
- Once sprouted place in sunny spot to dry.