Buckwheat & Hemp – Sustainable Crops of the Future

Buckwheat and Hemp are two of the most fascinating ingredients in the Wellness Warriors store cupboard. They both come from highly versatile crops that provide a range of health benefits for the human body and sustainability for the planet.

What is Buckwheat?

Buckwheat is a tiny seed that can be categorised as a ‘pseudo-grain’ like quinoa and does not contain any wheat. It’s processed into the form of a groat (which looks like a very small seed/nugget) which can be cooked similarly to rice and is a great substitute for people who are sensitive to wheat and other grains.

You may have heard of buckwheat in the form of flour, pasta and noodles – these are widely available in most health food stores. The seed is gluten-free, however some products including buckwheat also contain ingredients with wheat so make sure you study the label if you are gluten intolerant or coeliac before purchasing.

Buckwheat contains; fibre, magnesium, manganese and phytonutrients that are very helpful to our bodies. The protein in buckwheat is classed as a high quality protein, containing all eight essential amino acids, including lysine. We love buckwheat for it’s lightness, we use it as the base of our ‘Buckwheat & Hemp Bread’ and in our pizza bases, rolls and cakes.

What is Hemp?

The hemp plant is the non-psychoactive cousin of Marijuana. Many people mistakenly think these two are the same. Hemp has been used for over 10,000 years for textile sources, clothing and other materials. Today, the Hemp plant is being cultivated for industrial uses, food, and also for the therapeutic properties of CBD oil.

We use hemp protein powder in our cooking a lot – it provides a deep, earthy flavour and many health benefits for the body. To name a few, Hemp is a complete protein, meaning that is contains all eight essential amino acids, it’s easy to digest, a good source of fiber, contains unsaturated fats and is rich in minerals and anti-oxidants.

For anyone who wants to consume less meat, transitioning to a plant-based diet, or those who are already on one, this ingredient will become an integral part of your store cupboard. Hemp features strongly in the Wellness Warrior’s handbook in the Cook & Create section in recipe’s such as our bread, pizza bases, rolls, cakes, soups and even our morning breakfast smoothie.

Sustainability

Both these crops have a long history and are very sustainable for the planet.

How is Hemp a sustainable crop?

  • Hemp returns it’s nutrients to the ground

  • Is able to perform ‘Phytoremediation’ – a process whereby the hemp plant can be used to remove excess selenium from the soil to essentially clean it up

  • Hemp seeds can be used as a source of fuel (bio-diesel)

  • It can be used as an environmentally-friendly building material (ie. Hemp crete)

  • It can be used as a bio-degradable plastic (ie. Hemp bio-plastic)

  • Grows quickly and cleanly

  • Can be used when making paper and is considered by experts more durable and sustainable than paper made from wood

  • Hemp is a multi-purpose crop used also in the making of; clothing, textiles, diapers, hand-bags, rope, personal care items, food products and CBD.

How is Buckwheat a sustainable crop?

  • Buckwheat is rarely affected by pests

  • Farmers have used buckwheat as a ‘green manure’ crop that turns mature buckwheat plants back into the soil so they can bring new life to previously un-used land

  • Planted to prevent soil erosion, aid in water retention, squash down weed growth and enrich soil composition

  • Is well suited to organic production

  • Improves the moisture holding capacity of the soil

  • Is classed as a ‘smother crop’ – growing quickly and widely – ready to harvest 10-12 weeks after sowing

  • Bee’s love buckwheat – and we all love bee’s!