Buckwheat Facts

Buckwheat Facts
Buckwheat, also known as saracen corn, is herbaceous plant that belongs to the smartweed family. It originates from Central Asia, but it can be found around the world today. Despite its name, buckwheat does not belong to the family of grasses and it is not closely related to wheat. Buckwheat is often called pseudo-cereal because of its grain-like seed that are used in human diet. Cultivation of buckwheat started 4.000 years BC. Buckwheat grows on acidic, infertile soil. It has short growing season and it requires cold climate for the successful development. Popularity of the buckwheat started to decline during the 20th century, when new, improved types of fertilizers (which are essential for the cultivation of other grains) started to develop.
Interesting Buckwheat Facts:
Buckwheat has upright, multi-branched stem that can reach 2 to 5 feet in height.
Buckwheat develops large, heart-shaped, green-colored leaves.
Buckwheat produces miniature, white flowers arranged in dense clusters at the end of the branches. Flowers are rich source of nectar which attracts bees, responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of buckwheat is dry, single-seeded achene. Seed of buckwheat can be brown, grey-brown or black colored. Pyramidal-shaped seed has dark, protective membrane (hull) on the surface that needs to be removed before consumption.
Buckwheat has very short growing season. Harvest usually takes place 10 to 12 weeks after planting.
Buckwheat is rich source of dietary fibers, proteins, vitamins of the B group and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.
Dry, grain-like fruit of buckwheat has strong, nutty flavor. It can be consumed in the form of porridge or used as a substitute for rice. Buckwheat can be also ground into dark-colored flour. Buckwheat flour is often mixed with white flour and used for the preparation of various types of bread, noodles, pancakes and pasta.
Buckwheat is especially popular and widely consumed in the Russia, Poland, China, Nepal and Korea.
Buckwheat is used in the industry of alcoholic beverages for the manufacture of gluten-free beer and whiskey.
Buckwheat is ideal type of food for people diagnosed with celiac disease (people that cannot tolerate wheat gluten). Buckwheat contains phytonutrients that are useful in lowering elevated blood cholesterol level and high blood pressure. Flavonoids isolated from the buckwheat have anti-inflammatory (prevent inflammation) and anti-cancerogenic (prevent development of certain types of cancer) properties.
2/3 of produced buckwheat and dried buckwheat stalks are used as a source of food for the poultry and livestock.
Discarded hulls of buckwheat are used as fillers for the pillows.
Buckwheat is used for the manufacture of intensely flavored, dark-colored honey.
90% of globally consumed buckwheat originates from Russia.
Buckwheat is an annual plant which means that it completes its life cycle in one year.

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