I wasn’t aware of buckwheat until I began researching a gluten free diet for myself. While often referred to as an alternative ‘grain’, it is in fact a seed. I find the earthy and slightly nutty taste of buckwheat flour combines nicely with other flours and it makes a frequent appearance in my pancakes and bread.
I’d gotten out of the habit of sprouting seeds a while ago, and am excited to be foraying into this area again. Buckwheat is one of the easiest seeds to sprout and it’s amazing how much fun it is watching the sprouts appear.
So why sprout it? Well, check out what happens when buckwheat begins to germinate:
- the amount of protein rises while starch levels drop;
- increases the levels of vitamins E, A and C;
- vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, boron and calcium become bio-available ie. more easily assimilated; and
- enzyme-inhibitors are de-activated, making for easier digestion.
Sprouted buckwheat can be used in many ways. I’ve been serving it tossed into a salad or added to the pot when I cook rice. It also works well in stir fries. Adding it to your baking lifts the nutritional value of gluten free recipes which often feature flours low in nutrients. I described how I added it to a cake in this post. And if you dry the sprouts out (in a warm oven or dehydrator) they have a lovely crunch. Sarah says that they make a great base for homemade muesli this way.
When you are purchasing buckwheat just make sure that it’s not already toasted (also known as ‘kasha’) as this won’t sprout.
Makes approximately 2 cups
1 cup of buckwheat groats
3 cups of room temperature water
Place buckwheat in a strainer and rinse well with water.
Place buckwheat in a bowl and add water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes – 1 hour*.
Pour buckwheat back into strainer and rinse until the water runs clear – a lot of starch is released during the soaking process. Ensure that the buckwheat is well drained then empty into a bowl (or simply place the strainer full of buckwheat over a bowl as I do) and cover with a clean tea towel to allow airflow. You will need to rinse the buckwheat 2 to 3 times a day until ‘tails’ emerge.** These will usually form within 1-3 days depending on temperature and humidity.
Once sprouted to desired length, rinse thoroughly to ensure any excess starch is removed. Sprouted buckwheat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
If you would like to dry your buckwheat for future use (it will store well for several months in an air tight jar), place in the oven on the lowest temperature possible for 6-8 hours.
*Do not leave buckwheat soaking for longer than this otherwise it may not germinate.
** For optimal flavour sprouts should be no longer than the buckwheat itself.