Buckwheat is a plant with grain-like seeds. Despite it’s name, it is not related to wheat at all and is in the sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb family. This gluten-free plant is called a pseudocereal because the seeds are eaten and it is a complex carb. Russia, China, Ukraine and the United States are currently the top growers/producers of buckwheat.
So why should you eat buckwheat? Because these seeds are packed with nutritional benefits! They are low on the glycemic index scale, high in protein and high in nutrients like magnesium. Many studies have also shown that consuming buckwheat lowers the risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Buckwheat also keep you very full and also have shown to control blood sugar and help prevent gallstones.
Buckwheat is either hulled or unhulled. Hulled means that the tough outer shell has been removed and unhulled means that it has not been removed.
Buckwheat groats (hulled buckwheat) can either be raw, toasted or sprouted. Roasted groats are known as “kasha” and are very popular in Russia/Eastern Europe. They are plump, tender and nutty. Unroasted groats have more flavor and can be easily sprouted or used raw to make a sort of grits cereal.
Buckinis are the sprouted/activated groats (not to be confused with bikinis :)) I have heard this term used by Australians and Europeans only so maybe this is a foreign word to Americans but I like how it sounds. Sprouting is the stage between a seed and a plant. Sprouting literally opens up the seed which allows you to absorb more nutrients out of it, therefore making the nutrients more bioavailable. My favorite phrase I’ve heard to describe the sprouting process is “it’s like a mini treasure chest, you just have to open it up.” Sprouting also aids in digestibility because it helps breakdown some of the complex carbs for you.
Here’s a quick summary of the different terms:
Hulled – Tough outer shell has been removed
Groats – Hulled or crushed grain
Buckinis – Sprouted buckwheat groats
Sprouting – The process of soaking, draining and rinsing seeds, legumes and grains until they germinate or sprout
Here’s a closer look at unhulled buckwheat seeds. Not too tasty looking huh? Unhulled buckwheat can be used to grind into flour. It produces a grayish flour with dark specks (from the shells) and will be stronger in taste than hulled buckwheat flour. Sounds delightful :0. I have yet to try uhulled buckwheat flour.
Recently, I got some raw buckwheat groats and decided to give sprouting a try and it worked out great!
What you’ll need:
~1 cup dry, raw buckwheat groats (I did a large batch so it will look like less than less)
~ 1 medium/large fine mesh strainer
~ 1 medium/large mixing bowl
~A fine cheesecloth
Here are my pre-sprouted groats:
Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of the process but it’s pretty easy to describe and follow.
Step 1: Rinse your groats in the mesh strainer for about a minute before soaking.
Step 2: Put the groats in the medium/large mixing bowl with about 3 cups of water and soak for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Put the seeds back into the mesh strainer and rinse very well under cool water (60-70 degrees) until the gooey starch water is all off.
Step 4: Leave the seeds in the mesh strainer for the sprouting process, I just put the strainer in a large bowl to catch the water drips. Set this out of direct sunlight and 70 degree room temp is best. Then cover the sprouts with a breathable cheesecloth. They like air circulation so don’t suffocate them with too many layers of the cloth.
Step 5: For the next two days, twice a day, rinse and drain the buckwheat. I do it at breakfast time and at dinner time.
Step 6: After the four rinse and drain sessions over two days, you should see little tails have formed on the buckwheat groats. This means it’s time to stop the sprouting process, if you keep sprouting the seeds will get bitter. After the final rinse and drain session, drain them very well and lay them on paper towels to dry.
Step 7: Once your sprouts are dry you can store them in the fridge and sprinkle them on salads, smoothies, etc.!
Step 8: If you have a dehydrator, you can dry them at 115 degrees for 4-6 hours or until dry and then store them in an airtight container for granola, yogurt or porridges.
Here are my dehydrated and sprouted buckinis:
I put them in a mason jar and add them to smoothies, oatmeal and homemade granola for an extra crunch! I have also seen recipes that caramelize them for a sweet topping.
What do you think about buckwheat seeds? Will you try them?