Buckwheat is technically not a grain, but is the seed of a herb related to rhubarb. It is very popular in Russia and is their staple carb. It is also starting to gain popularity in other parts of the world due to the fact that is is gluten free, which means that it can be eaten by those with coeliac disease, or gluten allergies and intolerances.
Buckwheat contains more fibre than oatmeal, and also has a GI of 54, which is lower than actual grains (whole oats are 58GI and instant oats are 83GI). This makes it a better choice for people with diabetes and those suffering from blood glucose issues. Buckwheat may even be helpful in the management of diabetes (studies were conducted on Type 1 diabetes) as studies have shown that it can lower blood glucose levels.
Eating buckwheat may also mean a healthier heart. This is due to research that found buckwheat consumption was linked to lower total serum cholesterol, lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL, the bad kind that is related to cardiovascular disease), and a high ratio of HDL (the healthy type) to total cholesterol. It is also a good source of magnesium; a mineral that relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery, whilst also helping to lower blood pressure.
Buckwheat also contains high levels of Vitamin B17 (nitriloside), a vitamin that plays an important part in the body’s defences against cancer. It also contains high levels of calcium and lysine, as well as Vitamin E, and the Vitamin B complex.
Sound good? Well it tastes good too, with it’s earthy and nutty flavours.
If you enjoy muesli or granola for breakfast (or any meal) then you may want to try making your own at home using this health promoting ingredient. Especially if you cannot eat gluten (oats contain gluten), or are just sick and tired of oats.
Making your own muesli is fun, cheap, and this way you also know exactly what is in your breakfast. If you take a few minutes to have a look at the ingredients list on muesli packets next time you are at the supermarket you will be surprised. Even on the muesli’s that claim to be ‘fat free’ or ‘natural’, you will find a whole swag of numbers, additives, preservatives, fancy-named sugars, and canola oil etc. just to name a few….
- 5-6 cups of raw buckwheat groats (not kasha, which is already roasted)* (If you prefer, you can just use rolled oats in the place of buckwheat, or do a half/half mixture of the two)
- 1 cup of raw almonds (chopped), or nuts of your choice
- 1 cup of thread or desiccated coconut
- 1/4 cup each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- small handful each of raw sesame seeds and linseeds (flaxseed)
- 2 Tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp of honey
- zest of one orange and also half of the orange juiced
- 2 Tbsp (or more) ground cinnamon
- 1.5-2 cups of dried fruit such as apricots (chopped), and raisins
* Buckwheat groats are usually readily available at organic grocers (such as Liberty Market and Piko’s here in Christchurch), and some well stocked supermarkets also supply the Cere’s brand which you will find in packets in the baking aisle, or the organic’s aisle.
- Preheat your oven to around 140-150 Celsius.
- In a large oven roasting pan, mix the buckwheat, nuts, coconut, seeds and cinnamon until combined.
- In a small saucepan melt coconut oil, honey and mix with the orange zest and juice.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix until everything is combined. Don’t worry if some of the buckwheat mix isn’t covered.
- Place in your preheated oven for about 30-45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. You will know when your muesli is ready because it was start to make the kitchen smell fragrant. Be careful not to burn it though….!
- Leave to cool on your bench top and then when cooled mix in the fruit
- Transfer to an airtight container.
About 1/2 a cup is a good serving size and can be served with any milk of your choice, or mixed in with yoghurt, kefir etc.
This should keep in an airtight container for 3 weeks or longer.
Happy Muesli Munching xxx