The Q&A Archives: Buckwheat

Question: Just what is buckwheat? While eating buckwheat pancakes, I asked my wife the above question. Is it considered a cereal grain? We have a wild buckwheat which grows here in the desert, but I can't see that it would be of much use to humans.

Answer: Cultivated buckwheat is Fagopyrum esculentum and it is considered an herb. It's grown mostly for the fruit (seeds), which are ground into flour. The wild buckwheat you find is a weedy cousin and is generally not considered a good source of edible seed. Buckwheat is often planted as a cover crop over fallow fields or garden beds to help prevent soil erosion, to attract pollinating insects, and to help enrich the soil. Hope this answers your question!

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