Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Buckwheat

So what do you know about buckwheat?  2 weeks ago I would have said nothing, but a fellow mom and I were talking about food and gluten free alternatives and she brought up buckwheat.  She is from Russia and she said they eat lots of it there and I should give it a try. Always down for something new, I picked some up at the grocery store and here is what I have learned.

Buckwheat although looks and acts much like a grain it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb.  
It is - 

  • Gluten free
  • Linked to lower LDL(bad cholesterol), serum cholesterol and higher HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Rich in flavanoids which are phytonutrients that protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C and act as antioxidants
  • Helps regulate blood sugar
  • Helps prevent gallstones
  • Surpasses rice, wheat and corn in almost every measure of healthfulness
  • High in the amino acids lysine and arginine
  • Buckwheat proteins reduce the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), thereby reducing hypertension
  • High in minerals, especially magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese
Buckwheat is sold in 3 forms. Groats, grits and flour.  Groats are the hulled seeds.  If you roast the groats they are called kasha and they are tastier roasted.  Very fine unroasted groats are grits and are
often used as breakfast cereals.  Flour can be light and dark.  The darker it is the more hull is ground into it and the more nutritious.  You should store your buckwheat in a sealed container in a cool place like the fridge or freezer because they are seeds and they can go rancid.

The buckwheat I got was unroasted groats (because I didn't know at the time it came any other way) so dry roasted it which is a fancy way of saying I put it in a skillet with nothing else and cooked it till it got darker.  Then I cooked it like I would rice.  In my house that means I threw it in the rice cooker.  I used the same proportions as I would with rice, so 1 part buckwheat 2 parts liquid.  I used some leftover chicken broth from a soup I made last week and threw in some mushrooms and garlic and flipped the switch.  If you don't have one you are missing out...the rice cooker rocks!  We use it for all kids of stuff, rice, quinoa, now buckwheat.  I love it!  I'm pretty sure I could not make rice on the stove, it would burn, ah, but not in the rice cooker!  Anyway, back to buckwheat...it turned out great!  
Then the next morning we had a recipe for some gluten free griddle cakes that happen to call for what? Yup, buckwheat flour.  So I ground some up in the Vitamix and and we made breakfast.  They were tasty too.
So here is a new food to try that is super healthy, easy and tasty.  After you try it let me know how it turned out.  Maybe we can all share some yummy new recipes.

Be healthy!
Jen