What do you know about buckwheat? Well, for starters, are you aware that it's not even wheat?
Buckwheat is a plant grown mostly for its kernels (like cereal grains, plants of the grass family whose seeds are used as food grains, named for the Roman corn goddess, Ceres; think wheat, rice, barley, oats, ryel, maize, millet, etc.) and is an entirely separate entity from wheat. In fact, buckwheat is not a grass at all; the kernel that we eat is really a fruit seed. Because of the similar ways in which it is cooked, though, we tend to mentally lump it along with other cereal grains. Its name comes from the Dutch, bockweit, meaning "beechwheat," apparently earned from its seeds' resemblance to beech nuts. But I digress.
As a member of the Clique of Whole Grains, buckwheat shares all the fiber-soaring, heart-healthy, potentially cancer-fighting characteristics of that bunch. It also has some lipid lowering effects that have been shown to help prevent high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. So swap these pancakes out for your regular recipe every now and then. I admit, whole grains can be an acquired taste sometimes, but just think about all those years you're tacking on to the end of your life! And then pour on the blueberry syrup.
Buckwheat has no gluten, so it must be combined with higher protein flours to get the lift you want in most baked goods. According to those geniuses at King Arthur, you can sub up to one-third of the flour in a bread recipe with buckwheat if you so choose. (Buckwheat flour in sweeter creations was not recommended--stick to pancakes, biscuits, and other breads.)
Buckwheat Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup
serves 2; total time about 10 minutes; adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bakin soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 beaten egg (scramble up the rest to go with your b'fast)
1 Tbsp molasses
1 cup buttermilk (OR a mixture of yogurt + milk OR orange juice + milk)
1/2 Tbsp veg oil
- Stir together flours, powder, soda and salt. Make a well in the middle.
- Whisk together egg and molasses, then add buttermilk and oil. Dump wet ingredients into dry well, then stir just until dry ingredients are good and moist (do not over mix!).
- On a preheated skilled (preferably cast iron), scoop out 1/3-cup amounts of batter and cook 2-3 minutes, or until you start to see bubbles. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes more. Serve warm with blueberry syrup, if you like.
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp sugar
- In a small saucepan, stir together blueberries and sugar over medium heat. After a few minutes (a bit longer if they are frozen), berries will start to break down and release their juices. Boil just a minute or two, until thick. Use warm.