Cereals from local crops
With their muesli in the morning, pasta at lunchtime, cake in the afternoon and bread in the evening, the Swiss consume an average of 90 kilograms of cereals a year. 60% of the cereal products consumed consist of wheat. But – other native crops provide alternatives. Buckwheat, for example.
Buckwheat’s name is misleading as it’s not a cereal but, like sorrel or rhubarb, belongs to the native knotweed plants. Like quinoa and amaranth, the pseudo-cereals from Latin America, buckwheat does not contain gluten.
What makes buckwheat so healthy?
Gluten-free is essential for people who suffer a reaction to gluten or even intolerance – known as coeliac disease. For these people, buckwheat is a good cereal substitute. But buckwheat is also healthy for those who can eat anything, as the seed contains:
- fibre, which aids digestion,
- minerals and trace elements such as magnesium and copper,
- vitamin E, vitamin B1, B2,
- and valuable protein from all eight essential amino acids.
Buckwheat can also lower the body’s blood sugar level. Its flowers and leaves contain rutin, which can boost blood circulation.
What can you cook with buckwheat?
Because buckwheat doesn't contain gluten, it doesn't rise during baking. However, there are plenty of recipes for cooking with this healthy pseudocereal. Buckwheat can be used in the form of
- whole grains, roasted or cooked
- semolina or groats
Depending on what takes your fancy, buckwheat can be integrated into your everyday meals in a wide variety of ways. For example: buckwheat sprouts can be sprinkled over salads or mixed into muesli. Roasted buckwheat grains go well with yoghurt or in soup. Cooked in salt water, buckwheat grains can also be served with meat or fish dishes. Well-known forms of buckwheat pasta are the Graubünden pizzocheri and Japanese soba noodles. Buckwheat flour can be used to replace half of the wheat flour in traditional recipes. This is the case with chnöpfli, for example:
Ingredients for 4 persons
- 200 g chnöpfli flour
- 200 g buckwheat flour
- 4 eggs
- 150 ml water
- 150 ml milk
- 1 tsp. salt
Mix the flour, eggs, water and milk until air bubbles appear in the dough. Press the dough through a spätzle sieve or grater into a pan of boiling salted water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with butter.
Buckwheat crepes, the traditional Breton dish
Ingredients for 12 persons
- 300 g buckwheat flour
- 1 tbsp. coarse salt
- 0.5 - 0.75 litre water
Place the flour in a bowl, add salt and water. Mix with a whisk. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes. Beat well again and then cook in a non-stick pan. Add a topping such as ham, spinach or fondue cheese.
Ingredients for 4 persons
- 2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 400 g buckwheat grains
- 300 g mushrooms
- 2 pears
- 200 g bacon rashers
- 1 - 1.2 litres chicken stock
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- grated Parmesan cheese
Chop onions and garlic finely and sauté in olive oil. Rinse buckwheat grains in cold water and add to pan. After around a minute, add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer on a medium heat for around 15 minutes. Fry the bacon rashers in a non-stick pan and remove. Brown the sliced mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the buckwheat risotto. Clean the pan and brown the pear slices together with the walnuts. Sprinkle with sugar to caramelise. Add the Parmesan cheese to the buckwheat and serve the risotto on plates. Garnish with pear, bacon, walnuts and chives.
- 150 g buckwheat grains
- 2 - 3 oranges
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- 0.8 litre water
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 100 - 150 g feta
- olive oil
Finely chop the garlic and parsley. Juice half the lemon. In a bowl, mix the garlic, parsley, lemon juice, honey and salt with olive oil. Cut the feta into pieces, add, and leave to stand for at least an hour.
Wash the buckwheat grains with cold water. Bring the water to the boil in a large pan and add the buckwheat. Simmer on a medium heat for around 15 minutes. As soon as the grains are al dente, place the buckwheat in a sieve and run under cold water to shock.
While the buckwheat grains are simmering, segment the oranges, retaining the juice. Mix well with salt and olive oil. Add the buckwheat to the juice and oil mixture and mix well. To finish, scatter the orange segments and feta cheese over the buckwheat salad.