Food Focus: Buckwheat
Buckwheat or Kasha (cracked Buckwheat), is to Russia as bulgur is to the Middle East - the staple carbohydrate food used in numerous dishes but chiefly as a simple casserole. Buckwheat is actually a herb and related to rhubarb!
Buckwheat is not technically a grain but the seeds of a herb, and a relative of rhubarb. The seeds, or groats, form a dietary staple in northern climates, especially in Siberian Russia and in Brittany. Buckwheat is an important component of Jewish cuisine. It is high in lysine and calcium as well as vitamin E and the entire gamut of vitamin B complex. It is especially noted for its high B17 content, a vitamin that plays an important role in the body's defence against cancer. It's a great gluten free food, that's 'kinder' on the digestive system.
A note about breakfast cereals from William Dufty, the author of Sugar Blues:
'Since world war II, the food industry in the US has gone a long way toward ensuring that their customers (just about all of America's children, as well as a good proportion of the adults) do not have to chew breakfast. The bleached, gassed, and coloured remnants of the life-giving grains are roasted, toasted, frosted with sugar, embalmed with chemical preservatives, and stuffed into a box much larger than its contents. Fantastic amounts of energy are wasted by sales and advertising departments to sell these half - empty boxes of dead food - money back coupons, whilstles and toy guns are needed to induce refined women to lift these half-empty boxes off supermarket shelves...'
Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon
Some great recipe ideas using buckwheat;
Buckwheat Parfait - a simple breakfast
Fermented Buckwheat and Cinnamon Pancakes
Buckwheat Risotto with Spinach and Mushrooms