Buckwheat is a plant that is related to the rhubarb family. Despite its name, it is not a wheat. Although definitions may vary, organic buckwheat indicates that the crop was raised without the use of either conventional fertilizers or pesticides and may have been grown using sustainable farming methods. Organic buckwheat is used for food, weed control, improving soil, and for other uses. This crop is grown in many countries.
Organic buckwheat is a nutritious product noted for being a good source of thiamin, magnesium, fiber, and protein, especially the essential amino acid lysine. It is gluten-free and can be used by people with celiac disease. Those with wheat intolerance can also use it. In some individuals it can provoke an immune response.
Sometimes known as kasha, buckwheat groats or seeds may be enjoyed in breakfast porridge. This grain-like food may also be milled into flours. It can then be used for making a variety of foods, such as pancakes, waffles, and Japanese soba noodles.
Baking with buckwheat is much like baking with conventional wheat-based flour. Cakes, muffins, and breads all can be made with organic buckwheat flour. Products made with buckwheat usually have a full and hearty flavor.
Eating this product is not limited to cooking with buckwheat. It can also be used as a raw food. The seeds may be sprouted and then used in salads.
It can also be used for livestock feed and for producing honey. Sustainable farmers may grow it as a natural method of weed control because it covers the ground quickly and helps with insect control. Buckwheat attracts useful insects that may reduce the number of harmful insects. It may also be grown to improve soil structure as well as increase available phosphorus and organic matter. When used for this purpose, it is known as a green manure crop.
Organic buckwheat hulls may also be made into pillows. Some pillows are used for sleeping and replace the traditional down or polyester filled pillows. Other pillows are designed to be heated or cooled, and may be used to treat sore muscles, back aches, migraine headaches, and menstrual cramps.
Although buckwheat was first grown in Asia, it is now grown in many countries, including Russia, Australia, and the United States. It thrives in a cool, moist climate, and has a 10 to 12 week growing season. Though it likes cool weather, it does not withstand freezing. It can generally grow on a variety of soils, with varying levels of fertility.