This raw buckwheat granola is sweet and creamy and turns into a pool of chocolatey goodness when you add almond milk to the mix. Buckwheat is a gluten-free, low GI pseudo-cereal commonly referred to as a grain. It has a delicious mild and nutty taste and can be eaten raw - preferably soaked and sprouted to release anti-nutrients and improve the body's ability to digest it. Preparing buckwheat in the correct way is a labour of love, but it is worth the hassle to get a crunchy, satisfying gluten free substitute to your regular store bought cereals.
How to prepare Buckwheat
So what is the correct way? Well…big breath in…
- Take your buckwheat, raw buckwheat, not roasted, and put it in a large glass jar filled with filtered water. Leave it like this to soak for about 3 hours (if you leave it longer than this you risk it spoiling - and that's a funky smell you won't miss!). You can add a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon if you like, this just helps facilitate the process of neutralising the anti-nutrients (anti-nutrients are natural plant compounds on seeds that are there to deter pests from bothering them before they are ready to sprout. They unfortunately bind with minerals and thus impair bioavailability to us once ingested. Anti-nutrients for the most part are neutralised once sprouting starts or the sprouting conditions are mimicked such as what we are doing here).
- Drain and rinse the buckwheat well, and repeat this process a few times till the water runs smooth and clear. It will naturally get a little thick and slimly (normal). Cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth fastened with a rubber band.
- Rest the jar on an angle so excess water can drain, and leave it somewhere out of the sun.
- Rinse and drain the contents of the jar 2-3 times a day, for 2-3 days, or until little sprouts grow. I find buckwheat sprouts very easily. In terms of yield, as a general rule of thumb, they’ll double in size (so 1 cup would yield 2 cups sprouted).
- Once done, rinse well one last time, and store in the fridge till you’re ready to use.
That my friends, is the proper way to sprout buckwheat! They really are like little babies, especially having to tend to them every morning and evening for a wash. They will reward you with goodness though so I think that’s a fair trade.
Health Benefits of Buckwheat
Buckwheat is an excellent source of plant-based protein, minerals and fibre. However, they have two particularly beneficial phytonutrients called quercetin and rutin, which both have cardio-protective effects.
Quercitin is a flavonoid that acts as a healing agent in the body. It has been well-studied, and is a potent antioxidant - with 3.5 fold greater antioxidant activity that curcumin (found in turmeric) . It is anti-inflammatory, helps lower blood pressure, and is cardio-protective . It also has an anti-allergic effect, inhibiting the release of histamine . Histamine is a chemical found in some of the body’s cells that causes symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and itching eyes. Quercitin is also found in citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, sage, tea, red wine, olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries.
Rutin is another flavonoid found primarily in seeds. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects in studies. The content of rutin rapidly increases when raw buckwheat groats are sprouted (as in this Raw Buckwheat Granola recipe!) .
Like quercetin, rutin is supportive of the cardiovascular system. It has a relaxing effect on the blood vessels, which helps to reduce high blood pressure . It also has a lipid-lowering effect, by decreasing the absorption of dietary cholesterol . Rutin has been shown to be particularly effective at preventing blood clot formation - a cause of heart attacks and stroke . Finally - it is a source of the antioxidant vitamin E, high levels of which are associated with a reduction in heart disease .
Rutin is also found in citrus fruits, berries, black tea and apple skins.
[bctt tweet="Buckwheat contains cardio-protective flavonoids called quercetin and rutin. Great recipe here!"]
Raw Buckwheat Granola with Chocolate and Lucuma
commonly referred to as a grain. It is infused with super foods such as cacao, lucuma and goji.
A yummy protein packed way to start the day. Yields 5-6 cups (1 serve = 1/2 cup).
- 4 cups buckwheat soaked and preferably sprouted
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- ¼ cup coconut nectar
- ¼ cup lucuma powder
- 2/3 cup goji berries
- 2/3 cup cacao nibs
- ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup water
- First, rinse your soaked buckwheat very, very well, making sure you get all the ‘slime’ off it that naturally occurs as you soak it.
- Combine all ingredients in a big mixing bowl, don’t be shy, get your hands in there and get everything well coated.
- Spread onto dehydrator sheets and dehydrate overnight at 115˚F. If you don’t have a dehydrator, just use your oven on a very very low heat for an hour or so – they’re done when the buckwheat dries out and gets a little crunchy.
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