You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Features

  • Voices from the Civil War
    Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman once said, “War is hell.” Spencerville author and historical researcher Margaret Hobson says that was perhaps never more true than during that ...
  • DIY kits making it easier to be crafty
    Oh, Pinterest, you well-organized and time-stealing friend. Unlike our other social media loves, you make us feel productive. You say, “This is what your life can look like! Just go out there and Do It Yourself.
  • (No heading)
    The disruption in the pink aisle is about to become an all-out revolution.A newly minted female engineer and one in the making have developed a successor to last season’s groundbreaking GoldieBl ...
Advertisement
Washington Post
Buckwheat and Hempseed Pancakes strike a nice balance with the flavor of buckwheat.

Buckwheat shows what it can do

Gluten-free diets boost ingredient’s profile

A little earthy, a little nutty, a little bitter: The flavor of buckwheat can be intense. But roast buckwheat seeds, or mix buckwheat flour with others, to tame the taste.

It’s a taste more of us are getting to know. The increase in the number of people eating gluten-free diets or more whole grains has been good for the buckwheat business.

“It’s unbelievable,” says John McMath, a director of Birkett Mills, one of the two major buckwheat-producing companies in the United States. “It’s growing by leaps and bounds.” He says the mill, in the Finger Lakes region of New York, has had to push farmers to ramp up production to keep up with the demand.

McMath, who also heads the National Buckwheat Institute, ticks off a list of selling points. Besides being gluten-free, buckwheat is a nutritional powerhouse; it helps lower cholesterol; it can fight adult-onset diabetes: “That’s a claim that has been scientifically backed,” he says. It grows well in poor soil and doesn’t need fertilizer, herbicides for weed control or insecticides for pest control. “Very often it’s grown organically. It’s a very ecological crop, a very unique crop,” McMath says.

It’s also not technically a grain or cereal, though it’s treated as if it is. Buckwheat is the seed of a plant that’s part of the rhubarb family.

At the grocery store, it comes in several forms. Buckwheat groats are the plant’s hulled seeds. Kasha is groats that have been roasted. Groats and kasha are sold in different grinds, from fine to coarse. Buckwheat flour, the finely milled seeds, can be dark or light, depending on how much of the strongly flavored hull is included.

We tried those permutations in a variety of recipes, from kid-friendly mild pancakes to a clams-and-pasta dish that was a symphony of robust flavors.

A bit leery after a run-in with some unfortunate restaurant flapjacks, we were pleasantly surprised by the results. We get it! And we’re happy to join the growing ranks of buckwheat fans.

Advertisement