Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

pp 1025-1028

Buckwheat: Origins and Development

  • Alison WeisskopfAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London Email author 
  • , Dorian Q. FullerAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London

Basic Species Information

Buckwheat, including common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench.) and tartary buckwheat or bitter buckwheat (Fagopyrum tartaricum (L.) Gaertn.), is one of only three important non-grass starchy grain crops, or pseudo-cereals, the others being grain amaranth (Amaranthus sp.) and various chenopods, such as Andean quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa). An important crop of marginal lands, buckwheat, is grown in nearly every country that cultivates grain crops and is usually consumed locally (Campbell 1976), but it is especially important in colder regions of high altitude or high latitude in Asia. It is mainly grown for the starchy white endosperm of its seeds which produces buckwheat flour used for pancakes and blini, and soba noodles (Japan). The whole hulled seeds are used as breakfast food and to thicken soups. Dehulled grains, milled to remove the pericarp, are used in kasha, a traditional Russian dish. Buckwheat has a level of around 9 % pr ...

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