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Cooking with buckwheat

This Week in the HSI Forum

Buckwheat in theory is not the same as buckwheat in practice. In an HSI Forum thread titled “buckwheat,” it’s obvious that it may take a little work to get the hang of cooking with it.

In the e-Alert “Bucking the System” (12/15/03), I told you how a new study has shown that buckwheat may help diabetics lower blood glucose levels. And because buckwheat is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids, finding a way to cook with it may be well worthwhile.

After a member named J.W. starts things off by asking for assistance in sorting through the many varieties of buckwheat products to find a good one, another member named Omie replies with a post that will not inspire anyone to dash out and buy a big sack of buckwheat. Omie writes:

“After reading a report in a HSI e-alert I bought some buckwheat flour and proceeded to make pancakes. That stuff turns into gelatinous, musilagey goo. I couldn’t even eat the pancakes after I cooked them. Just didn’t like the taste. Another experiment bit the dust.”

But if at first you don’t succeed, Titus has this suggestion: “Try Hodgson Mill buckwheat pancake mix. They turn out just fine as far as texture. They are a little bland unless you add other things to the mix, like blueberry etc.”

And Bert has another useful idea: “Buckwheat usually has to be mixed with something else – oatmeal=1/4 cup to 1 heaping table/sp – mix together then boil 2 min – same with baking-pancakes – you need more flour than buckwheat – go online type in buckwheat recipes.”

Bert seems to have had some experience with buckwheat, but a member named TP clearly is a seasoned vet when it comes to buckwheat. TP writes:

“I use buckwheat the way you use rice – cook it the steamed rice way [1 cup buckwheat / 1 and half cups water, bring to boil, drop heat low and steam covered till water all absorbed – usually 10-15mins]. Then this can be eaten as an accompaniment to meat/whatever, like rice is. It is often an acquired taste. It is also fairly bland like this, so, fry up some chopped onion [in a non-stick pan with a little bit of olive oil] then add the buckwheat into the onion and mix thoroughly, adding some condiments if wanted. Should be quite nice now. Added benefit is that it is Low GI! Enjoy!”

But before you try TP’s recipe, Clara offers this information about kasha (which is roasted, hulled and cracked buckwheat kernels): “I think that TP is talking about kasha. It is buckwheat that has been pre-steamed and then dried again. It cooks up pretty quickly and is rather mild and nutty flavored. As TP said, one should add other things with it for extra flavor. But, kasha is a very nice way to eat buckwheat, so get yourself a box from either the grocery store or the health food store, and enjoy.”

If you have a buckwheat or kasha recipe that you enjoy, find the “buckwheat” thread and add your item to the menu.

Other topics that appear on the Forum this week include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Farmed salmon? No thanks
  • Milk – The facts!
  • Kitty litter dust
  • Symptoms of gallstones?
  • Grapeseed oil

To join in with any of these discussions, just go to our web site at, find your way to the Forum, and add your own insights and comments about health, nutrition and natural treatments.