The term buckwheat cereal can refer to buckwheat grains, or it can be a breakfast cereal containing buckwheat. Breakfast cereal made from buckwheat grains can be hot or cold, and may be eaten with added milk. A hearty grain, the flavor of buckwheat is widely considered to be more potent and earthy than wheat. Contrary to popular belief, buckwheat is not technically a grain, but a fruit, which makes it a popular choice for people on traditional grain and gluten-restricted diets.
The most common way to eat buckwheat cereal is to consume it hot. This cereal can be made of milled buckwheat served all by itself, or it can be a combination of other types of milled grains. Generally, hot buckwheat cereal is made by cooking it in hot water until it begins to swell and become soft. This type of buckwheat cereal is often served with nuts, dried fruit or bananas to add sweetness and flavor.
A less common type of cereal containing buckwheat is cold boxed breakfast cereal. Most cold buckwheat cereals come in the form of flakes, like those found in raisin bran or corn flakes, but some cereals containing buckwheat come in the form of pellets, some of which are puffed for a crunchy texture. Normally, cold cereals made with buckwheat flour also contain other types of flour, like rice flour or quinoa flour, to improve the taste and texture of the cereal. Since buckwheat flour appeals widely to people living with gluten sensitivity, it is usually mixed only with other gluten-free ingredients.
Buckwheat cereal for breakfast can be a health-conscious morning option over traditional cereals for many people, and it is an exceptionally important option for people who must eat gluten-free foods. Often called a superfood, buckwheat has some potentially important nutritional benefits over other types of grains. It contains an additional essential amino acid called lysine that is not in most other grains. Buckwheat is also higher in protein than many other grains. It is one of the most common grains used to maintain a healthy gluten-free diet, a routine part of treating digestive conditions like Celiac disease.
Though buckwheat is frequently called a cereal grain, it is not technically a grain. Some foods widely considered to be grains grow on plants with broad leaves, rather than grasses like the wheat most people are familiar with. When a grain grows on a broadleaf plant rather than a grass, as buckwheat does, it is part of a class of grains called pseudocereals, which are technically dried fruits, not grains. Other common types of pseudocereal fruits often used as grains include amaranth and quinoa.