Not a cereal or grain though similar in size to wheat grains whole buckwheat is a wild rhubarb relative fruit placing it on the pseudo cereal list. Buckwheat or Fagopyrum esculentum is gluten free except in instances of cross-contamination. When planting
buckwheat seedlings appear within three to five days and it is ready for harvest in ten to twelve weeks according to Cornell University. Photo at right shows buckwheat in full flower.
After removing the fruits hull, the inside groats of buckwheat can be roasted to make kasha or ground to make buckwheat flour. Kasha describes a porridge made from any whole grain in most parts of the world.
So why all is buckwheat getting all this attention. Perhaps because it’s used globally as a staple and alternative flour in combination with other flours since it lacks gluten. It’s been grown over 4,000 years in India and Nepal and other parts of Asia. Perhaps you’re familiar with these buckwheat dishes:
Rich in protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin C, buckwheat has been placed in the super food category by some while others warn that buckwheat flour based noodles and pancakes have a higher glycemic load than the more healthy groats. Stone grinding the flour leaves the germ more intact than roller processes yielding a coarser texture with more flavor.
There are several places you can buy gluten free buckwheat flour. Bob’s Red Mill carries organic buckwheat flour, pancake mix, whole buckwheat groats, porridge or hot cereal, and whole grain kasha found at many grocers and amazon.com.King Arthur’s has gluten free buckwheat flour in 2-pound fresh-lock bags and recipes for buckwheat flour bread, blini, and Stromboli. You can also buy Hodgson Mills buckwheat flour ground from select groats with that nutty flavor made for generations from grocers, direct or at Amazon.com. The Arrowhead Mills brand may be available in your area. North Carolina’s High Mountain Farms also sells a organic stone milled buckwheat flour. As for organic sprouted buckwheat flour that can be found at Blue Mountain Organics, and Shiloh Farms.
There are a number of gluten free flours to consider if you are trying to be wheat free, or choose another flavor profile alphabetically listed. Drill down or click on flour of interest for more complete descriptions.
Almond flour: and meal consist of 100% of nuts without gluten found in wheat, barley and rye, heavier than wheat flour and has more calories and fat. Nut allergy caution. More information here. (Do it Yourself)
Acorn flour: Easy to make yourself. Peel the shells. Rinse away the tannic acid. Puree in a food processor. Rinse the meal using a cheesecloth until it tastes like almond flour. You can also buy it ready made. (Do it Yourself)
Amaranth flour. A nutritious ancient grain that includes the lysine protien and other minerals. You may have to do 50/50 or 25/75 ratios for best wheat substitution results. It can be purchased ready-made. (Do it Yourself)
Corn flour: Whole grain flour with high absorption rate and ground finer than corn meal. Not corn starch which is made from the endosperm. Can be hard to digest for some. Purchase ready-made. (Do it Yourself)
Tigernut flour does not come from a nut. High in natural sugars. Available in standard, fine, and extra fine grades. Available ready-made. (Do it Yourself)
Yucca or Cassava flour is a close replacement for wheat flour. Commercially available cassava have no harmful levels of cyanide. Available ready-made. (Do it Yourself)
White Rice flour also known as rice powder is often used with other flour combinations, neutral flavor. It’s estimated over 4-billion people eat white rice worldwide. Available ready-made. (Do it Yourself)