What is buckwheat?
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench), also known as black wheat, is a fruit, an achene, (like sunflower seeds) which is characterized by its trigonal shape, belonging to the botanical family of Polygonaceae.
This grain is commonly used in the cuisine of Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe. Precisely because of its culinary use and its name, buckwheat is often confused with a cereal.
But a cereal is a plant belonging to the botanical family of grasses (such as rice, rye, barley or wheat). Instead, buckwheat belongs to the botanical family of Polygonaceae and is, for example, a relative of rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) and Sorrel (Rumex acetosa).
However, buckwheat is considered a pseudocereal because of its high starch content and its use in food such as flour and grain.
Why is buckwheat an important pseudo-cereal?
Not being a cereal, it does not contain gluten and is therefore suitable for celiac food. Others are also gluten pseudocereals quinoa and amaranth.
For human consumption, buckwheat can be consumed as grain or flour. Leaves are also edible and is a honey plant.
- More information on the botanical characteristics of buckwheat in the listing above.
Before marketing, buckwheat grain is washed and graded according to size and thickness. Then, the grains are compressed between two wheels in order to withdraw the outer sheath without damaging the contents within the grain. Subsequently, crushed or milled grain in different thicknesses in order to obtain buckwheat flour.
Buckwheat flour is the product from the milling of common buckwheat grain (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench.)
This flour has a role in the culinary traditions of the people in Asia, Russia, and northern and eastern Europe, being the main ingredient of many bread types as part of crepes, pasta, etc..
Nutritional composition of buckwheat flour per 100g
|Composition of buckwheat flour per 100g|
|from whom, saturated(g)||0,68|
|from whom, monounsaturated (g)||0,95|
|from whom, polyunsaturated (g)||0,94|
|Vitamin B1 or thiamin (mg)||0,41|
|Vitamin B2 or riboflavin (mg)||0,19|
|Vitamin B3 or niacin (mg)||6,15|
|Pantothenic acid (mg)||0,44|
|Folic acid (mcg)||54|
|Vitamin C (mg)||0|
|Vitamin E (mg)||1,03|
Characteristics of buckwheat flour
- Although not a cereal, buckwheat contains 70% starch in grain. Percentage exceeding even the corn in terms of carbohydrate content. It is for this reason that this pseudocereal has been very present in food and flour has been used as a thickener.
- Similar to other cereal flour, it is rich in carbohydrates, which gives it a high binding capacity, that's to say, capable of forming a very dense mass and resistant when mixing this flour with water. This makes it ideal for preparing masses as famous noodles or soba noodles.
- Buckwheat flour stands out because is gluten-free, making it ideal for people with celiac disease who eat foods without gluten (protein found in most grains).
- Also, not being a cereal, buckwheat has the amino acids missing in cereals and legumes. For these reasons these food groups go perfectly with buckwheat grains, because it increases the biological value of their proteins.
Composition of buckwheat flour
- Carbohydrates: Buckwheat flour contains mostly carbohydrates, in the form of starch, which give it thickening properties.
Adding buckwheat flour is a practical way to enrich vegetarian dishes with amino acids, thus increasing its nutritional quality.
- Fiber: Buckwheat flour is always whole. This is because, unlike grain, after the peeling, it has no outer layers that can be refined.
Soluble fiber flour predominates in this type of flour, reason why it presents slightly gelatinous texture as in the typical kashas.
- Vitamins: Mainly niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and to a lesser extent, other vitamins in foods rich in carbohydrates, such as thiamine and riboflavin.
Therefore, buckwheat flour is suitable to complete the mineral content of the dishes as bechamel sauces, pastas, etc.
Curiosities. Traditional cuisine with buckwheat flour
In Japan, buckwheat flour is consumed in the form of pasta, specifically with soba noodles. There are many varieties as Towari soba, made with 100% buckwheat flour, the Hegi soba, which are seasoned with seaweed soba or Mugi soba noodles made with sage, among others.
In Southeast Asia, buckwheat is a staple in many mountain areas, where flour is used for making chapatis, unleavened flat bread type, thin and characteristically round. Its flavor is very intense when made with buckwheat flour, but wheat is sometimes used.
In India there is a traditional dish used as appetizer called pakora. This is a mixture of vegetables and buckwheat flour which is fried. It is crunchy and very flavorful. The flour can also be mixed with mashed potatoes to make parathas, Indian bread that is used for the fasting and in some religious celebrations.
In Russia: The pancakes Blinis are traditional Russian bread pieces, which are made with buckwheat flour, cooked in the oven and served with cream or sour cream.
In the Netherlands: In Dutch cuisine, they made Poffertjes, traditional sweet bread.
In Italy: In Valtellina and in the Grisons, Pizzoccheri is consumed, a short noodle dish made with buckwheat flour (80%) and durum wheat (20%). Also, in the same region, they prepare taragna polenta, a paste made with buckwheat flour, water, cheese and butter, cooked in a pot for a long time, and stirring constantly.
In France: the traditional galettes de sarrassin are made of buckwheat, a cr�pes or pancakes made with buckwheat flour.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.