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Buckwheat, unrelated to wheat (it’s in the smartweed/knotweed family) is called a pseudo-grain, because its not actually a grass (unlike corn, wheat, rye, barley, oats…). It’s strange almost pyramid shaped seed is most commonly used in Soba, a Japanese buckwheat noodle, and as an additive to pancakes. I have a love/hate relationship with this grain. I love it in baked goods, hate it in noodles, and think its unappealing as a “groat” or boiled whole grain cereal.

But buckwheat is grown locally by Joel’s Organics, and in a fit of “support local” I bought a bag some time back. Because buckwheat contains no gluten, its a good fit for gluten free baking. But because it contains no gluten, its also tricky to use in baked goods that need gluten to hold them together. (Soba noodles, by the way, always also contain wheat flour – so they are not a gluten free noodle).

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Jennifer Kleffner

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