I have noticed that food stores carrying gluten free flours are missing the buckwheat. Usually, when I inquire about the absence, a fuss is made to go look on the shelf (because of course, I couldn't be right), and a finger is pointed to a package of buckwheat pancake mix. Wrong! Then, an admission that the store doesn't have the flour and they will have to look into it is forthcoming. I have looked online and found it, however the shipping is outrageous, so I haven't ordered it online. Also, I may very well be informed that the product is not available.

Why Missing

Finally two responses to my buckwheat missing dilemma have come forth. One is from my daughter who actually turned me on to buckwheat flour as a good translator of wheat for gluten intolerant folks. She lives and works in New Zealand, at a non-profit Buddhist center. I point this out because there are Tibetan monks there (ousted from Tibet). Tibet just happens to be one of the major places that produces buckwheat. Evidently there is some talk that the invading Chinese ruined much of the buckwheat crop and planted other things. This seems plausible to me since Tibet is always mentioned as a part of Central Asia that buckwheat is indigenous to, and the nasty invaders just appear nasty!

The second response is from an employee at a local health food store who agreed with me that "they are having a hard time getting buckwheat flour." Unfortunately, he couldn't tell me why. I did read that most of the buckwheat from the U.S.A. is used for livestock feed, but probably most of our buckwheat wasn't produced in the U.S.A. anyhow. It thrives in cold climates (hence the Tibetan connection) and tolerates poor soil well.

A Fruit, Not a Grainbuckwheat flower

Historically buckwheat was popular in the States, then not so much. It appears to be enjoying a comeback now, which may explain it being hard to get. A most beguiling little known fact about it is that it is a seed, not a grain! Actually it is a fruit (achene) containing a seed, produced by a flowering plant. It has so many great qualities:
  • contains 8 essential amino acids
  • has high levels of rutin (anti-oxidant)
  • produces a good honey
  • is gluten free
  • may be beneficial in keeping blood glucose in normal range (good news for diabetics).
This centuries old food staple is low in fat, and fiber rich. The seeds can be sprouted easily, too. Another plus is that it is a slow digesting carb. I like to have fun cooking gluten free and I have found that buckwheat flour translates very well for chocolate chip cookies. I didn't use any other flour, and they were delicious!

The buckwheat seedsJapanese have used it for soba noodles for pleasurable, healthy eating for many centuries. A book all about the Japanese buckwheat pasta, The Book of Soba has positive reviews for readers interested in it.

The trouble is missing the buckwheat now. Hopefully the increased customer demand for foods with healthy benefits will alert the powers to be that we want the buckwheat flour.