Buckwheat is a staple in much of Eastern Europe and is also very popular in parts of France, especially Brittany and Normany. Known as 'sarrasin' in France(the dark colour of the husk apparently linked in tradition to the skin-shade of 'Saracens', or Moors), it is mostly ground into flour to make delicious pancakes, and only occasionally used in grain form. But in Eastern Europe of course, especially Russia, it's very much a part of the culinary repertoire, with the husked cooked grain served at breakfast as a porridge with sugar and cream as well as served savoury at lunch and dinner in the same way as say, rice, couscous, etc. It's a delicious grain with a nutty flavour(much tastier than either couscous and that fashionable, expensive grain quinoa) and very nutritious too.
With its short growing season and fast growth, buckwheat also happens to be very easy to grow, at least in our climate, as we found out last summer when David grew it for the first time. It's easy to harvest too and the soft grain is remarkably easy to mill into flour--we used a coffee grinder. The other day we ate home-made buckwheat blini which had gone from paddock to plate--with the grain grown in the garden, harvested by hand, then sorted, ground at home, made into flour, and finally into pancakes. Pretty satisfying! Here are some pictures from go to whoa--from the plant growing in the field to the pancake on the plate!