What are buckwheat groats?
Buckwheat groats are the seeds of the buckwheat plant that have been hulled. Despite the name “buckwheat”, this seed is not related to wheat. It is actually gluten-free since it is not grass.
The buckwheat groats are mostly used in Eastern Europe and in Japan.
In Eastern Europe, the buckwheat groats are roasted or toasted, which gives them a nuttier taste. The toasted buckwheat groats are also known as kasha.
As in Japan, grains are utilized to make soba noodles. The noodles are used in many various recipes and can be served cold or hot.
They are also commonly used in raw vegan diets since it is high in nutrients. It can be enjoyed on salads, in smoothies, for making raw vegan desserts, but also for other dishes.
What is buckwheat flour?
Buckwheat flour is practically grounded buckwheat groats. It is mostly used for desserts instead of regular flour. The replacement of regular flour with buckwheat flour can be due to a gluten-free diet or because of health reasons. There are a lot of desserts that use this type of flour, such as cookies, bread, pancakes, crepes, muffins, or pies.
Are kasha and buckwheat the same thing?
Kasha is roasted buckwheat groats. It has a dark brown color and a totally different taste than raw buckwheat groats.
You can buy kasha directly in the store or make it yourself. Just roast some buckwheat groats in the oven until they are slightly brown. Keep in mind that kasha is not usually used for baking desserts, it is mostly used as a side dish.
Where can I purchase buckwheat?
Both buckwheat groats and buckwheat flour can be purchased in vegan stores, health stores, or Asian grocery stores. It is also possible to find them in your local food store or in supermarkets.
However, it is easier to buy buckwheat flour and buckwheat groats online, since the choice is bigger.
Why buckwheat is good for you?
- It is gluten-free! Despite its name, buckwheat is a gluten-free product. However, always check the label to see if it is certified gluten-free, as some products may contain gluten in them. Moreover, it is very commonly used for persons with intolerance to gluten. It can be used in bread, cookies, muffins, and other recipes.
- Vegan-friendly. Buckwheat is very well known by vegans and raw vegans since it can replace some meals by veganizing them. For example, you can make buckwheat risotto!
- It has lots of nutrients. BBC good food affirms that buckwheat is high in protein, magnesium and it is also a good source of fiber. It also contains some other micronutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, and zinc.
What does buckwheat taste like?
Raw buckwheat groats have a slightly nutty, bitter flavor. Still, the taste does not stand out too much. If you want to make desserts out of buckwheat, you will most likely not feel any buckwheat taste.
As for toasted buckwheat or kasha, it has a very rich, nutty flavor. That is why it can’t be used in baking.
Can I eat buckwheat groats raw?
Yes, you can eat them raw theoretically. Nevertheless, it is suggested that you soak, ferment or sprout them first for better digestion. Just let them soak overnight or for at least 6 hours before serving them. Note that they will get slimy after soaking, so make sure to rinse and drain them well before actually eating them.
Types of buckwheat
When it comes to buckwheat, it can be found in numerous ways:
- Unhulled buckwheat flour
- Hulled buckwheat flour
- Unhulled buckwheat groats
- Hulled buckwheat groats
- Kasha (roasted buckwheat groats).
Normally, unhulled groats have more nutritional value because they keep the skin on.
However, the hulled buckwheat groats are more delicious and easier to find in grocery stores.
How to sprout buckwheat?
Before starting, just want to make a notice that the buckwheat groats that you use should be raw, and not toasted. Also, keep in mind that you can’t sprout them for too long, 30 hours is the maximum.
It is very easy to sprout buckwheat groats, since they sprout very fast, in about 20 hours after soaking.
Here are the step-by-step instructions on sprouting buckwheat groats:
- Add into a bowl or jar the buckwheat groats (the amount doesn’t matter) and add water to cover the groats (1 cup of groats to 2 cups of water).
- Leave them for at least 6 hours or overnight to soak.
- Rinse and drain them well.
- Then, place them on a sieve or in a bowl.
- After about 10 hours, give them another rinse. Drain them again from excess water. You should already see them sprouting.
- Leave them for another 10 hours and then you are welcome to use them for baking, cooking, or enjoy them as they are. If you don’t want to use them right away, you can freeze or dehydrate them for later use.
How to store the sprouted buckwheat?
- Store them in the fridge for 2-3 days in an air-tight container. Note that they will still sprout little by little.
- Pop them in the freezer for a couple of months. This will stop the sprouting process.
- Dehydrate them in the oven/dehydrator and then store them in a jar for about 8-10 months.
How to roast buckwheat?
To roast the buckwheat, firstly spread them in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Make sure not to clutter them, as they need to roast evenly. Next, bake them at 150 C/300 F for about 40 minutes, until they become brown. Stop at halfway point to mix them.
After 40 minutes, remove them from the oven and place them into a bowl to cool down.
After cooling down, you can cook them right away or store in a jar or container for up to 8 months.
Ingredients for cooking buckwheat
- For kasha (roasted buckwheat groats), you will need 1 cup of kasha, 2 cups of water, and ½ tsp of salt.
- For untoasted buckwheat groats, for each cup of buckwheat groats, you will need 1 ½ cups of water. If you want to eat the groats with fruits or other sweet ingredients, leave it as it is, without any other additional ingredients. On the other hand, for enjoying the groats in sour combinations, you can add in the buckwheat salt to taste.
Instructions on how to cook buckwheat
How to cook kasha?
Firstly, rinse and drain the roasted buckwheat groats. Then, add the ingredients (buckwheat groats, water, and salt) into a pan. Bring to boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and let the buckwheat cook for about 20 minutes. You don’t need to stir the buckwheat when it is cooking.
How to cook raw buckwheat groats?
First of all, rinse and drain the buckwheat groats. Next, into a medium saucepan, add the buckwheat groats and water. When the water starts to boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the buckwheat cook for about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat, but leave the lid on for another 5-10 minutes, so the buckwheat will absorb the rest of the water.
How to store cooked buckwheat?
- Keep the buckwheat in the fridge for up to 2 days. Make sure to cover it with plastic wrap or to place it in an air-tight container before popping it in the fridge.
- Store the cooked buckwheat in the freezer for up to 3 months. Cool it down completely before placing it in the freezer. Thaw it for a few hours before serving it.
How to reheat cooked buckwheat?
Reheat the buckwheat either in the microwave or on a nonstick pan. For the microwave, place a shallow plate on the top of the bowl so it covers the bowl and heat for 2-3 minutes. As for the pan, just transfer the buckwheat into the pan and stir constantly until it’s heated. You can also add a bit of water if desired to make the buckwheat moister.
Can you soak buckwheat groats?
Yes, you can soak them. They need to be soaked for at least 6 hours. They will become slimy after soakings, so rinse them well and then drain. Notice that only raw buckwheat can be soaked. There is no need to soak tasted buckwheat groats.
Do you need to cook the buckwheat if you soak it?
No, you do not need to do that. If you have soaked your buckwheat groats for at least 6 hours, you can eat it as it is. Just make sure to rinse and drain it before eating.
However, if you wish to heat it up, you can do so! Don’t worry, the groats won’t get mushy if you heat them after soaking.
How to make buckwheat taste better?
Depending on how you want to serve the buckwheat (sweet or sour), you can make the groats taste better.
- For a sweet breakfast with buckwheat groats, you can add to the buckwheat while it is cooking mashed banana, cinnamon, all kinds of berries, apple, or vanilla extract. Moreover, you can add plant milk instead of water if you wish. Read more about how to make breakfast buckwheat bowl
- If you want to serve the buckwheat alongside something sour, you have the option to add vegetable stock instead of water or butter.
What is the best way to eat buckwheat?
Buckwheat is so versatile that it is difficult to find the best way to eat it. However, you should try to make some desserts out of buckwheat. My favorite buckwheat dessert is this banana bread. It is not only a delicious dessert but also very healthy and sugar-free. Also, you should try to make kasha, to see and feel what usually Eastern Europeans have as a side dish. If you want to add extra nutrients to your diet, try to sprinkle some buckwheat groats into your salad or make a Buddha bowl with buckwheat.
Buckwheat recipe ideas
- Blueberry buckwheat muffins. These muffins are totally gluten-free and sugar-free. And you won’t taste any buckwheat at all! You will only receive its nutrients.
- Buckwheat breakfast bowl. This is a simple, filling breakfast idea in case you are tired of oatmeal. Add the same ingredients as you would add in your oatmeal but enjoy the versatility!
- Buckwheat banana bread. Enjoy this banana bread as a breakfast, dessert, or snack. It is packed with healthy stuff, and, as a bonus, it is so delicious!
- Buckwheat crepes. This recipe is one of my favorites, because who doesn’t love crepes? They are insanely good, and you can eat as much as you want because they are guilt-free!
- Buckwheat cookies. The cookies are gluten-free and require only 6 simple ingredients to make.
- Buckwheat pancakes. When I say that you can make anything using buckwheat instead of flour, I mean it! These pancakes are as good as the classic one, the only difference is that they are healthier.
- Cacao and orange buckwheat muffins. These ones are perfect for winter because of the combination of orange and cacao. The muffins are so delicious, plus they are sugar-free and gluten-free!
- Peanut butter buckwheat smoothie bowl. The smoothie bowl is perfect for a filling breakfast. You will feel so good eating this! Especially because it’s so healthy and full of good nutrients.