As the days get colder and the mornings get darker, a hot breakfast seems to be a more important part of the day. Something about a hearty first meal makes it easier to brave the elements. Pancakes and waffles are the two things that always come to mind to fit that bill. In my house those dishes are typically made with buckwheat flour.


 Buckwheat is very popular in China, Korea, Japan and Eastern Europe but doesn’t have much of a name for itself in the US. Unless of course you know it by its other name, kasha.You may have encountered buckwheat in soba noodles, hot cereal or blinis while you suck down your bowls of imported Russian caviar.
Buckwheat products were pretty commonplace when I was a kid due to our proximity to some pretty significant buckwheat production in the Finger Lakes region of NY. I do remember the flavor being off-putting as a kid because I was not expecting it, but with enough Aunt Jemima you could have served me pancakes made of just about anything and I would have eaten them.  As a portly young lad, syrup covered a multitude of sins. Buckwheat has a mild but distinct, earthy, almost mushroomy flavor which has led to its popularity in savory dishes around the globe.
However, I’m here to talk about breakfast. Years ago we secretly replaced our regular pancake mix with a mix that was made from regular old wheat flour and buckwheat flour.  The inclusion of the buckwheat takes them from regular pancakes to a more complex flavor that plays beautifully with some high-quality maple syrup. No more Aunt Jemima for this guy.You can typically find buckwheat flour by itself as well and make your own mix from scratch.  Once you get used to its flavor you will find a home for it in many dishes.

In addition to adding variation in flavor to your repertoire, buckwheat is one of the many great crops that are used in sustainable farming. Since buckwheat grows so well in mediocre soil, high heat and is very drought-resistant, it can be used as a cover crop to grow in between other plantings since it roots and flowers rapidly, choking out weeds.

One last tidbit, buckwheat is gluten-free so its popularity, in light of the number of people who have trouble digesting gluten, is on the rise.

Buckwheat can be a welcome addition to your pantry and as its namesake would tell you, it’s O’tay.

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2 Responses

  1. Obbop

    Appears buckwheat concoctions have advantages and MAY be acceptable for some type 2 diabetics.

    That’s why I bought a box of buckwheat-containing quicky pancake mix.

    I use the sugar-free type of syrup after I use the pancakes in a toast-like manner with the over easy fried eggs.

    I use non-stick spray on a non-stick coated pan so I am far from “au natural” here in my shanty atop the Ozark Plateau, the home of road-kill ‘possum stew Pa finds and brings home to Ma to feed themselves and the herd of varmints known to some as vile spawn and others as younguns’ but they’re all pesky critters to me and the number of th noisy things alters hourly with no one exactly sure which one belongs to who but the number present does seem to increase at vittle eatin’ time.


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