A Basic Guide to Buckwheat Groats

The unfortunate name aside, buckwheat groats are a delicious addition to the cereal grain family. Their notoriety is even more profound given that they’re not a ‘traditional’ cereal grain or even a type of wheat. 

What are Buckwheat Groats 

So, what’s in a name? There’s a collection of non-wheat plants that are consumed in the same way as traditional wheat grains. The name given to these plants is ‘pseudocereal’, and buckwheat falls into this category (along with quinoa and amaranth). Buckwheat comes from the Fagopyrum esculentum family of plants, a relative of rhubarb. These plants produce prolific, edible, seeds called buckwheat groats. The hulled products are brownish, triangular-shaped seeds, often simply referred to as ‘groats’. The groats are super nutritious and naturally gluten-free, making them desirable for those avoiding gluten or those in the health-conscious crowd. 

Image Credit: monicore from Pixabay 

Cooking with Buckwheat Groats 

There are basically two culinary options when it comes to buckwheat groats: the hulled seeds or buckwheat flour. Buckwheat flour is simply finely ground groats, and if you’ve enjoyed a bowl of soba noodles, you’ve enjoyed the versatility of buckwheat flour. 

Buckwheat groats have a delightful toasted-nutty flavor with a hint of earthiness. The texture of cooked groats is equally enjoyable with a nice soft chew. You can achieve that nice tender chew by cooking the groats using a simple ratio of 1 part groats to 2 parts water, boiled for about 15 minutes, like in this recipe for Apple Cinnamon Buckwheat Porridge. Buckwheat groats can also be consumed raw, providing a little earthy crunch to recipes, like in this recipe for Celery and Apple Salad with Crunchy Buckwheat. The groats are also a great substitution for other cereal grains, especially for those looking to avoid gluten. Try out these recipes with a buckwheat swap. 

Beef and Barley Soup

Slow Cooked Zucchini with Caprese Couscous

Salmon and Farro Salad   

Sourcing Buckwheat Groats 

Buckwheat groats can easily be found in your local grocery store, typically in the baking, cereal, or health food sections. Be sure to store buckwheat groats like any other grain, away from light, heat, and moisture.

Feature Image: Flickr user  Ervins Strauhmanis ( CC BY 2.0 )

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