BUCKWHEAT - the often forgotten nutrient packed alternative! Trendy smoothie bowls may sometimes have a sprinkle of activated buckwheat as a crunchy garnish (activated buckwheat groats may be referred to as 'bukinis'). It is quite easy to activate it, and it can be eaten plain or coated for a flavour/nutrient boost. Below I have made a 'caramel' and a 'choc-caramel' bukinis for family(requested!).
How can it be used:
Buckwheat can simply be used other traditional ways too: cooked up as a porridge or nutrient booster when added to soups or stews or tossed cooked with various other ingredients as a main dish. Roasted buckwheat or Kasha is a popular dish(can be cooked with pasta bows, sauteed onions, garlic and seasonings). Another dish I've tried was chopped protein of choice(eg chicken), peas, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, spring onions and cooked cooled buckwheat as a salad meal. Buckwheat is also popular as a flour - for pancakes or French-style crepes with sweet fruit or savoury (e.g. mushroom goes well) fillings.
The name buckwheat apparently is derived from the Dutch word bockweit, (used to indicate similarity to the Beech tree seed in shape, and wheat-like taste of buckwheat flour).
You may thinks this is a cereal grain but it is actually triangular fruit seeds from the herbaceous plant buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), covered by a hard shell which is usually already removed (hulled) and this hulled seed is also called also the buckwheat groat. Some buckwheat flour(darker more nutritious) are made from the unhulled seed.
Activating the buckwheat hulled seeds or groats (soaking it overnight in water, can add a dash of apple cider vinegar to assist the process, which I did) helps to remove the phytic acid content. When seeds like groats are soaked to activate it makes them easier to digest. Groats have digestive enzymes that enable our bodies to really absorb all the nutrients. Without activation, the phytic acid will block those digestive enzymes and most essential vitamins and minerals. If phytic acid from seeds, grains, nuts and, even legumes is not removed/released we may not be able to absorb their nutrients effectively. For example Bircher or overnight oats when left to soak in the fridge over night you’re releasing that acid and the oats can then provide their optimum nutrition! Same with buckinis. If not removed this will prevent nutrient absorption occurring effectively and buckwheat is nutrient rich, so worth the effort and using it to boost nutrient content of meals!
Nutritional Benefits of Buckwheat
Buckwheat contains two flavonoids: quercetin and rutin, both may provide excellent health-promoting actions. These extend the actions of vitamin C and act as antioxidants. These flavonoids also help to maintain blood flow, preventing platelets from clotting excessively, and protect LDL (low-density lipoproteins) from becoming damaged and oxidised into harmful cholesterol oxides by free radicals.
Buckwheat is rich in minerals (rich in magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, plus some iron, zinc, selenium and calcium). Even though buckwheat lacks bran or germ its still a good source of fibre (about 10%), pantothenic acid(vitamin B5) as well as a quality protein(nearly 12% protein and contains all eight essential amino acids, needs from our dietary intake).
Activating and Dehydrating Buckwheat Groats = Bukinis!
Try them plain, Caramel or Choc- caramel coated
INGREDIENTS: 2 cups raw buckwheat groats
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar(optional) 2 tsp of real vanilla extract 2 tsp cinnamon 1 1/2 tsp maca powder 2 Tbsp mesquite powder a few pinches of himalayan salt 6-8 tbsp real maple syrup
1 tbsp cacao powder - (optional - only for adding to choc caramel bowl only once above is mixed together)
Day 1 - use a jar, bowl or container big enough to cover the 2 cups of buckwheat groats with water, add a splosh of apple cider vinegar (to assist the process), leave to soak overnight.
Day 2 - the next day, rinse as there will be a slime-like texture to the liquid from the process, so rinse well.
Place back in container and cover with water again to soak overnight.
Day 3 - final rinse, so rinse thoroughly (to avoid any bitter taste). Pat dry and if leaving plain spread seeds on trays of dehydrator(on baking paper if you don't have fine mesh dehydrator trays or if using oven baking paper on cookie trays). for a crunchy seed or eat as is for a soft seed. Flavoured option - split buckwheat into two(about a cup for each) if making two flavours.
Mix together all coating ingredients except cacao. Taste and adjust to your taste with sweetness, caramel and salt levels.
Pour 1/2 of the coating to spare bowl then mix the cacao into that one. Spoon in half of the buckwheat into each bowl and toss until evenly coated.
Spread onto baking paper-line dehydrator tray(as mentioned above) and leave on overnight at 40 degrees until crunchy. Oven on lowest setting with door ajar for 8 hours can work also, apparently (thanks for the original recipe this was adapted from and other tips @NeuroticMommy!).
Place in clean jars in cool cupboard, store until you need ready to go Buckinis!! Yum!