Thursday, 6 June 2013

Buckwheat is Qiao

Copyright Julie Vaux 2013 
Who loves soba ramen !? Did you know Buckwheat also known as Kasha is one of the oldest domesticated plants? Genetic and other evidence indicates that it started being grown as a deliberately planted crop rather than a harvested wild crop somewhere in Yunnan probably in one of the Lake Basin Valleys since its nearest wild relative is a plant that prefers an alpine habitat at middle altitudes.

In plain English probably a shelter mountain valley well below the snowline maybe in open woodlands or grasslands below the high  meadows and above cloud or rain forest.

Some one took seeds down out of the mountains and the plant spread from South East Asia up to Central Asia and then across Eurasia until it first appeared in Europe in the Balkans about 4000 B.C. It used to be planted to cereal and other crops cos the plant is an excellent nitrogen fixer enriching soils but this practise declined with the introduction of modern fertilisers.

Fortunately human fondness for soba and pancakes and groats and porridge using this grain means you can still buy buckwheat flour at supermarkets ( well happily mine has it) or soba noodles.

Do try making buckwheat pancakes as well as soba noodles at home!

Buckwheat pancakes work well with berries or red bean paste!

A Field of Buckwheat Plants