History Of Buckwheat Cultivation
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is cultivated as a cover crop and for its grain-like seeds. The crop is referred to as a pseudocereal and despite its name, is not related to wheat. Common buckwheat was domesticated possibly around 6000 BCE when it was first cultivated in Southeast Asia. The cultivation of this crop then spread to the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia.
Cultivation Of Buckwheat
The buckwheat crop is a short season crop that grows well in less fertile as well as acidic soils. The major requirement is that the soil must be well-drained. The crop sown in the hot season is harvested in cooler weather.
Buckwheat is grown as a reliable cover crop in the summer season. It’s growing period is as short as 10 to 12 weeks. The plant grows about 30 to 50 inches tall and can be cultivated in the higher latitudes.
The Buckwheat Plant
The buckwheat plant has a branching root system. One primary root is deeply rooted into the moist soil layer. The seeds of the plant are triangular-shaped. The flowers may be white, yellow or pink. The fruit of the plant has a single seed within a hard outer hull. The starchy, white endosperm is used to prepare buckwheat flour.
Uses Of Buckwheat
The buckwheat is harvested to serve as food for people. Buckwheat noodles are commonly consumed in Tibet and northern China. In India, buckwheat flour is used to prepare food items during the Hindu fasting days since consuming wheat or rice is prohibited during such fasting periods. During this time, Indians make buckwheat pancakes, buckwheat pakoras, etc. Buckwheat noodles are common within Japanese cuisine. Buckwheat groats are used to prepare porridge in parts of eastern Europe and western Asia. Several other preparations of buckwheat are consumed worldwide. The nectar of the buckwheat plant is used to derive a dark-colored honey.
Buckwheat is also used to prepare gluten-free beer. Buckwheat whiskey, buckwheat tea, and the Japanese buckwheat shōchū are other forms of beverages that use buckwheat.
Hulls of the fruit are used as filling for upholstered goods. However, allergens present in the hull might trigger asthma in some people.
Largest Buckwheat Producing Countries
Russia is the top buckwheat producing country in the world. Here, 712,047 hectares of land is used for buckwheat cultivation and about 700,000 of buckwheat was produced in 2014 according to data provided by FAO. China ranks number two in the world in buckwheat production producing 661,764 tons of the crop in 2014. Ukraine comes next with a production of 167,440 in 2014.