2 May 2006

Cereal of the Week - Buckwheat

Buckwheat is also known as kasha or groats. It is not a true cereal and is actually a fruit seed and a member of the rhubarb family. Originally cultivated in Central Asia it spread to Europe and arrived in the USA with the early Dutch and German settlers.

Nutritious as it contains high magnesium, high manganese, high fiber, rutin and lysine. It has no suger, low sodium and as it is not a true cereal is gluten-free.

Buckwheat has many health benefits. It is excellent for gluten-free, low sodium and for diabetic diets. Rutin is important in treatment of high blood pressure and hardening arteries and it also prevents Vitamin C being destroyed by oxygen. Lysine, a basic amino acid, cannot be made by the body and is poor in true cereals so buckwheat is an excellent source. It is required for growth and bone development in children, assists in calcium absorption and maintaining the correct nitrogen balance in the body and lack of lysine can cause anaemia, pellagra and reproductive problems. Vegetarians must be especially careful of lack of lysine as they do not get it from the normal sources of meat, eggs and milk.

Buckwheat comes in various forms:
Grits which are finely ground , unroasted groats. Used as cereal and to add texture to soups.
Whole groats are raw kernels, roasted or unroasted, shell removed. Used in place of rice.
Kasha which are cracked, roasted, hulled kernels and often used in vegetable and grain dishes.
Buckwheat flour which being gluten-free is often mixed with wheat flour to make pancakes, noodles and bread.

Oven Cakes (non-fried pancakes)

1-1/2 cups Spelt Flour
1/2 cup Buckwheat Flour
1 lg. or 2 sm. Bananas
1/2 cup Pitted Dates (whole or pieces)
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds, raw, hulled
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
Apple Juice
1 pint Blueberries, frozen
6-12 Apricots

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl place the spelt and buckwheat flour. Add the baking soda and mix well. Add the sunflower seeds and frozen blueberries. We use frozen blueberries to prevent premature bursting while baking, and suggest washing and freezing the blueberries the day before use. Mix well.

In a high speed blender place the bananas, dates, and just enough apple juice to facilitate grinding into a smooth, thick liquid. Cover the blender and run it at high speed until smooth. Add to the flour mixture. Wash down the blender container with a little apple juice and add as necessary to the flour mixture. Mix until the batter is smooth but slightly stiff, adding apple juice as necessary.

Spoon the batter onto a non-stick or lightly oiled baking sheet to form the size oven cakes you desire. Add apricot halves (cut side down) on top of the oven cakes. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the oven cakes are firm.

The juice from the apricots and blueberries provides a natural syrup.



Tor said...

There is also a great recipe for kasha bread in the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. It uses pureed raisins for sweetener to feed the yeast. A real treat!



Jackie said...

Thanks tor , I am sure those with the book will have a look.