Buckwheat is becoming more and more popular. We reveal how healthy and versatile gluten-free grain is.
Buckwheat can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen and, in contrast to cereals such as wheat, is completely gluten-free. But how healthy is the pseudo-grain? The overview.
What is buckwheat?
Buckwheat is currently experiencing a renaissance, after all, more and more people are opting for a gluten-free diet. The grain has a characteristic, pleasantly nutty taste, a brown to greyish color – and unlike many grains, it does not contain gluten. Buckwheat is therefore particularly interesting for people with celiac disease. The grain is extremely versatile: it can be eaten whole or ground as a good alternative to wheat flour. Despite its name, the grain has nothing to do with wheat: as a knotweed plant, it is one of the pseudo-grain types, but can be used in a similar way to grain types. Buckwheat originated in Central Asia. And even today, the healthy grain is in demand in Russian cuisine: it is served there, for example, as pancakes, as a hearty side dish, or as porridge. Today, buckwheat growing areas include China, the CIS countries, the USA, Canada, and Brazil. In Europe, Poland in particular relies on the cultivation of buckwheat.
Buckwheat is so healthy
There are numerous healthy ingredients in buckwheat. The grain contains vitamins A, B, E, and K, among others. It particularly impresses with its high folic acid content: 100 grams of buckwheat contain around 50 micrograms of folic acid. Important minerals and trace elements such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium are also found in the pseudocereals. But that’s not all: buckwheat also has positive effects on blood sugar levels due to its ingredient chiro-inositol. The substance regulates the insulin level in the blood, which is why diabetic patients in particular benefit from the pseudocereal.
- Buckwheat: nutritional values at a glance (per 100 grams)
- Calories: 340
- Carbohydrates: 72 grams
- Fat: 1.7 grams
- Proteins: 9 grams
Buckwheat: purchase, storage, and use
Buckwheat is available in many forms: You can find the pseudo-cereal in supermarkets, organic shops, and health food stores, for example as buckwheat groats or buckwheat flour. The pseudocereal is available as a whole grain, raw or roasted. The second variant is particularly suitable as an addition to muesli, for example. You can also buy buckwheat raw and roast it yourself. At home, you should store buckwheat in a closed container away from light. When storing it, it should be remembered that buckwheat can become rancid and should therefore be used up within a few months.
The preparation of buckwheat is extremely versatile. For example, the pseudocereal can be used as a grain such as rice. To do this, simply boil the grains in water. They are also suitable as an ingredient in stews or for the preparation of vegetarian patties. For breakfast, buckwheat can be used as a grain or groats as a healthy ingredient for muesli. Buckwheat flour is particularly popular: This is particularly suitable for sweet or savory crêpes and pancakes or as a gluten-free alternative when baking.
Baking with buckwheat
The fact that there is no gluten in buckwheat is both a blessing and a curse: on the one hand, this property makes it suitable for people with intolerances or special dietary preferences, on the other hand, the lack of gluten means that it cannot be used 1:1 like wheat flour. After all, gluten is a sticky protein that gives the dough the necessary stability. When baking with buckwheat, care must therefore be taken to use enough eggs or to add another gluten-free flour that has a sticky effect. Soy or locust bean gum, for example, is suitable for this.
What should be considered when eating buckwheat?
The substance fagopyrin is found in unpeeled buckwheat. Excessive consumption can lead to sensitive skin, which reacts more severely to sun exposure after eating. Therefore, unpeeled grains should be thoroughly rinsed under hot water before processing to remove as much fagopyrin as possible. Because the substance is in the husk, peeled buckwheat can be eaten without hesitation.