Although there is evidence since the Neolithic of the existence of buckwheat in Europe, its domestication as a food took place in the Chinese province of Yunnan, in the south of the country, in which remains dated around 2,600 BC are preserved. Here we call it buckwheat, from Arabic to fur fur, or buckwheat, probably because it was brought by the Crusaders. But even if it is called wheat, this precious plant is not a cereal.
In fact, the Fagopyrum esculentum is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the family of the polygonaceae, like the sorrel, the rhubarb or the bistort.
In Asia it has always been appreciated for its nutritional value and is in fact more expensive than cereals. Today it is those nutritional properties and their health benefits that are making it current again. It is a food from the past with a great future.
Balanced and protective
Buckwheat is an excellent example of quality calories, healthy but abundant, and therefore deserves a place in our menus.
Quality vegetable proteins. Proteins deficient in several amino acids that limit their use, including lysine. Buckwheat proteins, which do contain this amino acid, are used by 74%, which is more than 9 real grams per 100 grams.
Without gluten. The other advantage of buckwheat proteins is that they are gluten-free, which makes them suitable for celiacs. Ally of the intestine. Its carbohydrate intake, also high, ranges between 67% and 75%. Most of them is starch. The rest is dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Fiber is higher in whole or broken grain and lower in flour made from peeled grain, but still considerable. The soluble one helps to reduce and slow down the absorption of fats and glucose, which is interesting in diabetes. And it has beneficial effects in preventing colon cancer or cholesterol. By maintaining a feeling of fullness, it also helps to avoid snacking between meals. The insoluble one improves transit and intestinal hygiene.
Low fat. The fat content is low (1.7%) and they also have a healthy profile, as they are mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, particularly oleic, and polyunsaturated.
Rich in vitamins and minerals. In terms of vitamins, its contribution to those of group B stands out, particularly B2, B3, B5, B6 and folic acid or B9. Among the minerals it is an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, copper and phosphorus, in addition to providing zinc, potassium, iron and selenium.
Antioxidant protection. In addition, it contains small treasures in the form of flavonoids, among which rutin stands out, which helps regulate cholesterol and prevent high blood pressure.
How to prepare it
Its basic preparation is quick and easy, although some recommend a previous soak. It will be enough to boil it in water, milk, broth or whatever you want with a pinch of salt for 15 to 20 minutes. It requires twice its volume of liquid and its texture is always firm even when the grain is open.
In general it goes well with almost any ingredient: vegetables, mushrooms, cereals and legumes, but particularly well with mild-tasting dairy.
One of the most famous recipes is Breton galettes and crepes. If you want to experiment with bread at first, it is not advisable to exceed 20% or 30% of buckwheat flour. The flavor is intense and the bread will have a hard time growing.