Healthy Living on July 23, 2014 by

What is it? Wednesday: Buckwheat

What is it? Buckwheat is a plant related to rhubarb, with no relation, whatsoever, to wheat. Buckwheat is technically a fruit, though it is widely considered to be a grain. The dark, pyramid-shaped kernels of the buckwheat plant are harvested, then split and the pale fruit is what we know and love as buckwheat. The whole kernel (with the husk intact) can be ground into flour, which has the dark color so commonly seen in buckwheat pancakes and blini. In fact, most buckwheat flour is ground with extra husks to give it that deep, dark color.

For the longest time, I was under the impression that the name buckwheat must have come from a relationship with wheat. I knew they weren’t related, but I thought maybe it was called buckwheat because it was a replacement for wheat or that it looked like wheat when it grew. Neither of those things is true. It’s name actually comes from the seed’s similarity to the seed of the Beech tree. In fact, it was sometimes called “beech wheat” because of this similarity in the seed shape. How we got to “buckwheat” is still beyond me, but, suffice to say, it’s not because it’s related to wheat.

Buckwheat has long been a staple in Asia and eastern Europe- being used for everything from noodles in China and Japan to kasha varnishkes and blini in Russia. In the United States, we often see buckwheat in pancake form or stuffed into pillows for “the perfect night’s sleep”. Clearly, it’s versatile. It’s also supremely nutritious and wonderfully flavorful with a unique nuttiness you won’t get from any other grain.

The buckwheat plant | Bob's Red Mill
Is it gluten free? Yes, buckwheat is inherently gluten free. However, buckwheat is a crop that is often transported with trucks that carry wheat. Some of our buckwheat products display a gluten free symbol and some do not. If this is a concern for you, be sure to find our gluten free symbol on the package before consuming.

Is it whole grain? Yes, despite its taxonomy, buckwheat is considered to be a whole grain by both the Whole Grains Council and the USDA.

What makes it so nutritious? Buckwheat contains all 8 essential amino acids, classifying it as a complete protein. It is also high in fiber and delivers a healthy amount of manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc, all of which support the immune system.

What is the difference between whole buckwheat groats and kasha? Kasha is simply buckwheat groats that have been roasted. You can easily make your own kasha from raw buckwheat groats in your oven. The roasting brings out the nutty flavor of buckwheat beautifully.

What is it? Wednesday: Buckwheat | Bob's Red Mill

How do you use it? One of the best things about buckwheat is that it cooks in just 10 minutes and can be added to almost anything. It’s incredibly versatile. We’ve tried it in salads, soups and pilafs, as well as granola (recipe coming soon) and as a hot cereal. Buckwheat has a strong flavor, but don’t let that stop you. That flavor can go with sweet as easily as it can go with savory.

Recipes to inspire you:


I love buckwheat! It’s one of my favorite flours. Thank goodness it’s not a wheat! I was wondering, is Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat flour and buckwheat groats raw? If not, I’d like to know what temperatures is it heated to?

Thank you.

Yes, they are both raw.

That’s great to know. i’m a Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat fan 🙂 Can you please explain why Bob’s buckwheat groats are called creamy buckwheat? Also, do you have to soak the groats in water before eating/using them? It doesn’t say on the package of bob’s groats, and i’ve heard that buckwheat groats should be soaked to release enzyme inhibitors. Is this necessary with Bob’s groats? Thank you.


Our buckwheat groats and creamy buckwheat cereal are two different products. The cereal has a creamy texture and is made from buckwheat that has been cracked and ground. You do not need to soak our groats before eating, but we do not know much about the enzyme inhibitors. If it makes you more comfortable to soak them first, please do so.

Remy says:

Hello, can I make flour that is similar to Bobs creamy buckwheat flour if I grind up or pulverise my roasted buckwheat (kasha)?

Yes, it would be close, but it will not be as dark (our flour has extra hulls added) and it will have a slightly roasted flavor, since kasha is roasted. Should be a pretty solid replacement, though.

Tish says:


I absolutely love Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Buckwheat! It would be a staple in my home except that I cannot always find it in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Can I make creamy buckwheat by grinding down Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat groats? Are there any retailers in my City that regularly carry this product? It seems very hit and miss, and I will typically buy all that a Store has and they will not replenish the stock on this product.



Thank you so much! I’m not sure if you could make it at home, but you could try. The groats are not very well distributed so I am not surprised to hear they’re hard to find. Your best bet is to put in a product request with your favorite retailer.

Sahar Nasser says:

I wanted to ask if I need to soak creamy buckwheat and drying it before grinding into a flour. I want to use it to make bread.

No, to grind it into flour it does not need to be soaked and dried. You can just grind it as is.

Sahar Nasser says:

Okay thank you:)

Hussain says:

Hi, do you think your cream of buckwheat can be used to make overnight porridge?

We think that would work, but we haven’t tried it.

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