Who doesn’t like a little crunch in their chocolate? I sure do! In the raw world we have nuts, seeds & cacao nibs to play but another crunch muncher is Buckwheat. Hailed a superfood in its own right, Buckwheat is the perfect nutritional boost to give your raw + vegan + chocolate some added texture. When sprouted, Buckwheat comes back to life and provides maximum elevation to your chocolate with the sprouting process producing live enzymes and vital nutrients.
Despite its name, Buckwheat is not related to wheat. Buckwheat actually belongs to a group of foods called Pseudocereals (non-grasses used in a similar way to cereal). Quinoa & Amaranth are also in this group. There are 2 types of Buckwheat used in food: Common Buckwheat (Fagopyrum Esculentum) and Tartary Buckwheat (Fagopyrum Tartaricum). Buckwheat is native to China and the largest producing countries are Russia, China and the Ukraine.
Buckwheat is rich in antioxidants, which are responsible for its superfood title. It has more antioxidants than other grains such as barley, oats & rye. It's a good source of fibre and ranks medium to low on the glycemic index meaning it can help to lower or stabilize blood sugar level. Perfect for diabetics!
Buckwheat is the richest source of the antioxidant rutin amongst cereals and pseudocerals. Studies indicate that rutin may reduce inflammation and blood pressure, decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, and improve blood lipid profiles. Great for general heart health!
So there you have it. Many good reasons to sprout away and elevate your chocolate creations with a superfood crunch. Enjoy!!
How To Sprout Buckwheat
- Soak buckwheat in plenty of water. The amount of water should be approximately 2-3 times the quantity of buckwheat used. Note: Bottled room temperature water is the best to help the buckwheat to come back to life!
- Tap the bowl on the counter so that all floating buckwheat is submerged.
- Allow buckwheat to soak for at least 2hrs. I soak mine overnight. You don’t need to be strict with your soak time.
- Using a sieve or colander, rinse the buckwheat thoroughly. You will notice that the soaking water is pinkish in colour. Continue to rinse until the water runs clear. Note: I use a sieve to drain the soak water, clean out the bowl, put the buckwheat back in the bowl, fill bowl with water to cover the buckwheat, agitate with my hands, and drain the water using a sieve. I do this 2-3 times until the buckwheat is well rinsed.
- Put the buckwheat in a shallow bowl or baking tray with enough surface area to allow 3-5 layers of buckwheat. Spread evenly.
- Put the buckwheat in a warm place for 12-24hrs. Note: If you live in the tropics, like us, you can sprout in the direct sunlight. Another option is to place the buckwheat on top of a dehydrator while it is running. If these options are not available to you, any warm place in your house will activate the sprouting process. If your buckwheat dries out, simply rinse again. The buckwheat will need to stay hydrated to aid the sprouting process.
- For chocolate, the desired sprout is a ‘small tail’ approximately 1-2mm in length. The longer the tail, the more bitter the taste. A short tail will give the benefits of sprouting without the bitterness. Note: Once you become a sprout master, you will understand the conditions of your environment and therefore the time required to achieve the perfect sprout for your chocolate.
- Rinse the buckwheat one final time.
- With your buckwheat fully activated, it’s time to dry it. Spread sprouted buckwheat onto a dehydrator tray (maybe with a teflex sheet, depending on the type of dehydrator you have). Dehydrate at 42 degrees (108f) for 10-16hrs or until completely dry and crunchy.
- Your buckwheat is ready to use in your chocolate! Mix into your chocolate before moulding or sprinkle on top once in your desired mould.
- Store it in an air tight container for up to 1 year.