For “Foodie Friday”:
Buckwheat - 9 Great Reasons to Know it, Plant it, Grow it and Eat it!
“Buckwheat is one of those plants that may be unfamiliar to most Americans. It is a staple crop in parts of China, Russia and Eastern Europe, but is less well known to U.S. food consumers.
Buckwheat is not a cereal grain, although it's name might lead you to think it is. Rather, it is a flowering plant. Buckwheat is a relative of sorrel, dock and rhubarb, whose 'fruit seeds' are a great source of nutrition, cancer fighting phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber.
A major crop which has been cultivated throughout the world for centuries, buckwheat production in the U.S. is currently far lower than in other parts of the world.
In the U.S. it is often planted not for the harvest of its seeds but as a weed control cover crop, a green manure to be cut and either tilled or left on the soil as organic matter, or as a honey crop for bees.
There are some powerful benefits offered by buckwheat in the garden and in the diet, not the least of which is its ease of growing and ability to thrive without fertilizers or pesticides.
1. Buckwheat is a great gluten free grain substitute
A source of high quality protein, it contains all eight essential amino acids. Use it to make pancakes, porridge, as a substitute for rice, or sprout it and add it to salads and sandwiches for an antioxidant boost.
Research has shown that sprouting buckwheat changes its nutrient profile and provides a super antioxidant boost. To super enhance that antioxidant boost, add trace minerals to the sprouting water.
2. Buckwheat improves blood cholesterol levels
In populations where buckwheat is a staple in the diet, it has been shown to lower serum cholesterol and particularly to lower LDL cholesterol, earning it a reputation as a heart healthy grain substitute.
3. Cancer fighting properties
Studies have shown that various parts of the buckwheat seed inhibit tumor growth and slow cancer cell growth in a variety of different types of cancer.
4. Buckwheat is a clean crop.
Common buckwheat is one of the traditional ancient foods of people around the world. It has never been engineered, gone through breeding programs or modified, so you don't have to worry if it's safe.
5. Buckwheat shows results as an appetite suppressant.
It may even reduce your appetite and help you lose weight. In studies of grain substitutes, buckwheat was found to provide a higher sense of satiety than staple western grains such as rice and wheat.
6. An important bee crop.
Bees adore it. It blooms later than most spring pollen producers and can be a very important food source for bees. Like borage, it will continue blooming and producing new flower clusters and seed heads all season right up to the first frost, providing a major food source for the honey bee.
So, if part of your life mission right now is to help bees, planting common buckwheat is a definite must-do action item.
7. Buckwheat flowers are the source of buckwheat honey, which has proven antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.
Not only does the buckwheat flower sustain the bees during the mid and late season when traditional pollen sources are low; the honey it produces is medicinal. According to research:
"As buckwheat honey was most effective in reducing ROS levels, it was selected for use in wound-healing products. The major antioxidant properties in buckwheat honey derive from its phenolic constituents, which are present in relatively large amounts. Its phenolic compounds may also exert antibacterial activity, whereas its low pH and high free acid content may assist wound healing."
No matter where it is planted in the garden, it adds flowering beauty and a pleasing scent. It can go in the vegetable gardens, herb gardens or along borders and edges. It can be broadcast seeded in meadows. Plant it around the main vegetable and fruit gardens to attract pollinators.
9. It's a great cover crop for garden beds
Buckwheat can crowd out some of the toughest spring weeds. While it's growing it is adding phosphorous to the soil for any vegetable crops which can be inter-planted later in the season once the buckwheat has been established. In polyculture gardens it is left to continue blooming and plants are planted in among the stalks.
Buckwheat is a popular crop in permaculture for all these reasons.
So, even if you don't grow enough to harvest the seeds and make your own grain substitutes, adding buckwheat in the garden provides food for bees, nourishes the soil and fills the air with a delightful fragrance.
For those not fortunate enough to have a garden, this information might inspire a local seed bomb project.
Remember, common buckwheat grows easily, without fertilizers or pesticides, so it's easy enough to make up small clay 'seed packages' and deliver them to edge lands, open spaces where little care is being taken of the property. Organic common buckwheat is sold by many organic specialty seed farmers.
Oh, one more thing, buckwheat can be used as a replacement for barley to make a gluten free beer. So, if it's really true that humans began growing grains and developing agriculture in order to make alcohol, as some anthropologists have suggested... Now there's the reason we were waiting for to get truly motivated!
Buckwheat plants grow quickly, beginning to produce seed in about 6 weeks and ripening at 10 to 11 weeks. They grow 30 to 50 inches (75 to 125 cm) tall.
Buckwheat: plant it, grow it, sprout it, eat it!”
Buckwheat as Food
Soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour
Naengmyeon, Korean cold noodle soup made with buckwheat flour
A traditional Breton galette, a thin large buckwheat flour crepe
Black buckwheat tea produced in Sichuan Province, China
The fruit is an achene, similar to sunflower seed, with a single seed inside a hard outer hull. The starchy endosperm is white and makes up most or all of buckwheat flour. The seed coat is green or tan, which darkens buckwheat flour. The hull is dark brown or black, and some may be included in buckwheat flour as dark specks. The dark flour is known as blé noir (black wheat) in French, along with the name sarrasin (saracen).
Buckwheat noodles have been eaten by people from Tibet and northern China for a long time, as wheat can not be grown in the mountain regions. A special press made of wood log was built to press the dough into hot boiling water when making buckwheat noodles. Old presses found in Tibet and Shansi share the same basic design features. The Japanese and Koreans might have learned the making of buckwheat noodles from them.
Buckwheat noodles play a major role in the cuisines of Japan (soba), Korea (naengmyeon, makguksu and memil guksu) and the Valtellina region of Northern Italy (pizzoccheri). Soba noodles are the subject of deep cultural importance in Japan. In Korea, guksu (noodles) were widely made from buckwheat before it was replaced by wheat. The difficulty of making noodles from flour with no gluten has resulted in a traditional art developed around their manufacture by hand.
Buckwheat groats are commonly used in western Asia and eastern Europe. The porridge was common, and is often considered the definitive peasant dish. It is made from roasted groats that are cooked with broth to a texture similar to rice or bulgur. The dish was brought to America by Russian and Polish immigrants who called it kasha, and they mixed it with pasta or used it as a filling for knishes and blintzes, and hence buckwheat prepared in this fashion is most commonly called "kasha" in America, but the groats themselves are called "grechka" by Russian immigrants. Groats were the most widely used form of buckwheat worldwide during the 20th century, eaten primarily in Russia, Ukraine and Poland. The groats can also be sprouted and then eaten raw or cooked.
Buckwheat pancakes, sometimes raised with yeast, are eaten in several countries. They are known as buckwheat blinis in Russia, galettes in France (savoury crêpes made with buckwheat flour, water and eggs are associated with Lower Brittany, whilst savoury galettes made without eggs are from Higher Brittany), ployes in Acadia and boûketes (which are named after the buckwheat plant) in the Wallonia region of Belgium. Similar pancakes were a common food in American pioneer days. They are light and foamy. The buckwheat flour gives them an earthy, mildly mushroom-like taste. In Ukraine, yeast rolls called hrechanyky are made from buckwheat. Buckwheat flour is also used to make Nepali dishes like "dhedo" and "kachhyamba".
Farina made from groats are used for breakfast food, porridge, and thickening materials in soups, gravies, and dressings. In Korea, buckwheat starch is used to make a jelly called memilmuk. It is also used with wheat, maize (polenta taragna in Northern Italy) or rice in bread and pasta products.
Buckwheat contains no gluten and can consequently be eaten by people with celiac disease or gluten allergies. Many bread-like preparations have been developed. However, buckwheat can be a potent and potentially fatal allergen by itself. In sensitive people, it provokes IgE-mediated anaphylaxis. The cases of anaphylaxis induced by buckwheat ingestion have been reported in Korea, Japan and Europe, where it is more often described as a "hidden allergen". A recent article by Heffler et al. showed allergic reactions, even severe ones, induced by accidental ingestion of buckwheat as "hidden allergy", are not so rare as previously described.
Buckwheat is a good honey plant, producing a dark, strong monofloral honey.
In recent years, buckwheat has been used as a substitute for other grains in gluten-free beer. Although it is not a cereal, buckwheat can be used in the same way as barley to produce a malt that can form the basis of a mash that will brew a beer without gliadin or hordein (together gluten) and therefore can be suitable for celiac or others sensitive to certain glycoproteins.
Buckwheat hulls are used as filling for a variety of upholstered goods, including pillows and zafu. The hulls are durable and do not conduct or reflect heat as much as synthetic fills. They are sometimes marketed as an alternative natural fill to feathers for those with allergies. However, medical studies to measure the health effects of buckwheat hull pillows manufactured with unprocessed and uncleaned hulls, concluded such buckwheat pillows do contain higher levels of a potential allergen that may trigger asthma in susceptible individuals than do new synthetic-filled pillows.
Buckwheat is currently being studied and used as a pollen and nectar source to increase natural enemy numbers to control crop pests in New Zealand.
On Hindu fasting days (Navaratri, Ekadashi, Janamashthami, and Maha Shivaratri), northern states of India eat items made of buckwheat flour. Eating cereals such as wheat or rice is prohibited during such fasting days. However, since buckwheat is not a cereal, it is considered acceptable for consumption during Hindu fasting days. While strong-willed Hindus do not even drink water during their fast (observing nirjal upwaas), others just give up cereals and salt and take a meal made of preparations from non-cereal ingredients such as buckwheat (Kuttu). The preparation of buckwheat flour varies across India. The famous ones are kuttu ki puri (buckwheat pancakes) and kuttu pakoras (potato slices dipped in buckwheat flour and deep fried in oil). In most of northern and western states, buckwheat flour is called kuttu ka atta. In Punjab, it is also called okhla, and is extensively used in flour form.
The buckwheat plant is celebrated in Kingwood, West Virginia at their Buckwheat Festival, where people can participate in swine, cattle, and sheep judging contests, vegetable contests, and craft fairs. The area fire departments also play an important role in the series of parades that occur there. Each year there is a King Buckwheat and Queen Ceres elected. Also there are many rides, and homemade, homegrown buckwheat cakes and sausage are served.
Buckwheat contains a glucoside called rutin, a phytochemical that strengthens capillary walls. One clinical study showed mixed results in the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency. Dried buckwheat leaves were manufactured in Europe under the brand name "Fagorutin" for use as a tisane.
It also contains galloylated propelargonidins and procyanidins.[
Buckwheat contains D-chiro-inositol, a component of the secondary messenger pathway for insulin signal transduction found to be deficient in Type II diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome. It is being studied for use in treating Type II diabetes.
Research on D-chiro-inositol and PCOS has shown promising results.
High protein buckwheat flour is being studied for possible use as a functional ingredient in foods to reduce plasma cholesterol, body fat, and cholesterol gallstones.” More at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckwheat
How to Grow Buckwheat
“Buckwheat is easy to grow — in fact, it's unequaled at growing on poor soil . . . cut the stems with grass shears when about three-quarters of the seeds have turned brown. Threshing the seeds is fun: Just lay the stalks on a clean sheet and beat them with a broom!
Buckwheat is one of the best sources of high quality protein in the plant kingdom. It's easy to grow, harvest, and process; it prospers on soils too poor for other crops; and it's not susceptible to any major disease or pest problems. On top of all that, buckwheat is an excellent smother crop for weed control, a superb green manure crop, and a legendary nectar source for honeybees.
Yet few gardeners use it! In all the years we've planted buckwheat for bread and pancake flour, we've never heard of any other gardener raising the crop. So this article explaining how to grow buckwheat is our chance to speak up for an old friend, one that has served us faithfully . . . providing fine flavor and wholesome nutrition while asking for just a little care in return. We think buckwheat is the backyard grain you can bring in a usable harvest from as little as 40 square feet! It well deserves a place in American gardens.”
Who Has the Buckwheat Varieties?
Unfortunately, seed of the few good buckwheat varieties can be quite difficult to locate. Most likely, your local farm supply store can provide you with "common" buckwheat, which is OK but nothing special. The same goes for the few mail-order houses selling buckwheat seed.
If that's the best you can find, go with it. But there are a few certified varieties available in states with commercial buckwheat growers. For example, the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association supervises production of Mancan and Giant American seed. Your local county extension agent might be able to connect you with a source of these seeds.” More at: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/how-to-grow-buckwheat-zmaz86mjzgoe.aspx#axzz2Xyx1pTJc
Organic seeds here: http://www.wheatgrasskits.com/sprouting/buckwheat_seed.htm and organic Japanese seeds here: http://www.fedcoseeds.com/ogs/search.php?item=8111&listname=Wheat&
“You won’t believe Dr. Mark Hyman’s diet truths. What does “fat-free” really mean and how harmful is diet soda? Dr. Mark Hyman explains what’s shooting the number of diabetes cases through the roof and how we can prevent it.”
This video is just part of what Dr. Hyman says in this article:
How Diet Soda Makes You Fat (and Other Food and Diet Industry Secrets)
Mark Hyman, MD, Practicing physician
“How do you lose weight? Substitute diet drinks for sugary drinks. Eat low-fat foods. Just eat less of the bad foods -- it's all about the calories. We are told, "Just have more willpower."
These ideas are false. They are food and diet industry propaganda that make and keep us fat and sick. Lies by the food industry combined with bad government policy based on food industry lobbying are the major cause of our obesity and diabetes epidemic.
Now, more than 35 percent of Americans are obese, and almost 70 percent are overweight. This is not an accident but the result of careful marketing and money in politics.
We are told it is all about making better choices. If we all took more personal responsibility, we could stop this obesity and diabetes epidemic. We have been told there are no good or bad foods, that the key to weight loss is moderation. And, of course, if we all just exercised more, all of us would lose weight. These ideas hold us hostage.
What the Food and Diet Industry Doesn't Want You to Know
Diet Soda and Diet Drinks Make You Fat and Cause Type 2 Diabetes. Diet soda makes people fat? Really? How does that happen?
If losing weight were all about the calories, then consuming diet drinks would seem like a good idea. That's certainly what Coca-Cola wants us to believe in their new ad highlighting their efforts to fight obesity. They proudly promote the fact that they have 180 low- or no-calorie drinks and that they cut sugared drinks in schools by 90 percent.
Is that a good thing? In fact, it may be worse than having us all drink regular Coke (and the other food giants making diet drinks also push the same propaganda).
A new 14-year study of 66,118 women (supported by many other previous studies) found that the opposite seems to be true. Diet drinks may be worse than sugar-sweetened drinks, which are worse than fruit juices (but only fresh-squeezed fruit juices).
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, discovered some frightening facts that should make us all swear off diet drinks and products.
- Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes more than sugar-sweetened sodas!
- Women who drank one 12-ounce diet soda had a 33 percent increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, and women who drank one 20-ounce soda had a 66 percent increased risk.
- Women who drank diet sodas drank twice as much as those who drank sugar-sweetened sodas because artificial sweeteners are more addictive and are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar.
- The average diet soda drinker consumes three diet drinks a day.
You might say that people who are overweight and just about to get diabetes drink more diet soda, but they scientifically controlled for body weight. And they found the artificial sweeteners increased diabetes independent of body weight!
This and other research shows how diet sodas make people fat and sick. And that diet drinks may be even worse than regular sugar-sweetened sodas! How does that happen?…….
Bottom line: There is no free ride. Diet drinks are not good substitutes for sugar-sweetened drinks. They increase cravings, weight gain, and Type 2 diabetes. And they are addictive.
Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fat
The diet and food industry has brainwashed us to eat fat-free foods, which seems like common sense. Eating fats makes you fat. Right? But the science tells us otherwise -- not all calories are created equal. And even though fat has more calories per gram (9 calories vs. 4 calories of carbs and protein), eating fat can help you lose weight.
This low-fat idea was based on bad science. Our government told us in the 1970s to go on a low-fat diet and to eat 8-11 servings of rice, bread, and pasta a day. And unfortunately, we listened. This was the beginning of our obesity and diabetes epidemic. The food industry happily created a flood of fat-free foods.
But the science has proven that eating fat doesn't make you fat -- sugar does. And it is sugar, not fat, that raises your cholesterol despite what people and most doctors still believe.
So why does eating fat free make you fat and diabetic?
Bottom Line: The key point here is that all calories are not the same. Swap out sugar and starch for good fats such as nuts, avocados, olive oil, and grass-fed animal products or wild fish. Be a "qualitarian." Focus on quality, on real food, and the rest takes care of itself.”
Complete article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/diet-soda-health_b_2698494.html
On This Day:
Salvation Army founded, Jul 5, 1865:
“In the East End of London, revivalist preacher William Booth and his wife Catherine establish the Christian Mission, later known as the Salvation Army. Determined to wage war against the evils of poverty and religious indifference with military efficiency, Booth modeled his Methodist sect after the British army, labeling uniformed ministers as "officers" and new members as "recruits."
Today, the Salvation Army, still based in London, has branches in more than 75 countries. The Army operates evangelical centers, hospitals, emergency and disaster services, alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, community centers, social work centers, secondhand stores, and recreation facilities. Voluntary contributions and profits from the sale of its publications fund the organization.”
Sox accused of throwing World Series, Jul 5, 1921:
“After Judge Hugo Friend denies a motion to quash the indictments against the major league baseball players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series, a trial begins with jury selection. The Chicago White Sox players, including stars Shoeless Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, and Eddie Cicotte, subsequently became known as the "Black Sox" after the scandal was revealed.
After Misty had eaten her breakfast, when it was time to pick up Jay, Misty didn’t want to go, so I let her sleep, and took her for a walk around here later.
Midnight and her five kittens arrived, four black and one tabby. They seemed to like playing in the playpen.
Midnight has weaned them now, so she is loose in the Grooming Room, but keeps a watchful eye on them.
Last time they were here in May, they were really tiny, so Midnight took care of them. Now it is my job to feed and tend to them. Midnight came in the living room to say ‘Hi’ to Misty, as they are old friends. She is such a sweet cat, but still very skinny.
Jay and I popped a line on the top of the long lattice fence on the walkway to the back yard, then he cut it all off level, before we screwed on the top boards. We also installed a second gate. The board fence in the front has already received compliments, it will look stunning when painted.
Hoping that Ray would have time to paint, I held off taking any pictures of it today.