Buckwheat is a really great place to start if you’ve never sprouted before. In fact, it’s one of our favourite things to sprout. It germinates quickly and shows a good visible sprout, so it is satisfying to watch! Sprouting it aids in digestibility and bioavailablity, and makes it super quick cooking. The sprouting process also starts to break down the structure of the seed, resulting in a really lovely texture and making it’s very distinct flavour more subtle.
Unlike many other cereal grains, this naturally gluten-free grain is also a complete protein. It’s nutritious, versatile and lends its own unique flavour to any dish!
The key with finding buckwheat groats to sprout is that they need to be raw, and packaging may not always specify. Toasted buckwheat, or kasha, has been heated and will no longer germinate. You should be able to tell raw buckwheat by its light greenish colour, whereas kasha is usually brown.
You can usually find raw buckwheat groats at your local bulk or health food store, or you may be able to source online. Choosing organic is usually best because then you can be certain that it hasn’t been treated with any chemicals that could interfere with germination. You should also be able to find certified gluten-free buckwheat should you need it.
You don’t need any fancy equipment to sprout buckwheat, but there are a few things to note:
Sprouting in a Bowl
You will need a large bowl, a clean dish towel and a fine mesh strainer.
Sprouting in a Jar
A jar with a sprouting lid makes it simpler to drain and rinse, but it means you need extra equipment (they are inexpensive and you can find metal or plastic ones at most health food stores or online). Sprouting lids can have different mesh sizes, so make sure the buckwheat can’t fall through before you begin. If you don’t have a sprouting lid, you can also use a mason jar lid with the center replaced by mesh or cheesecloth.
We found each method worked equally well and sprouted at the same rate. Sprouting in a jar was slightly more convenient, but it’s really down to your personal preference.
If you’re not consuming the sprouted buckwheat right away, you will need a dehydrator or baking tray to dry in the oven.
We started with 2 cups of raw buckwheat and 4 cups of water for both the jar and bowl method.
Drain and rinse well with lukewarm water.
If you’re using a bowl: make sure the water has fully drained before returning the buckwheat to the bowl, you want it moist but not sitting in water while sprouting. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and allow it to sit at room temperature.
If you’re using a sprouting jar: after rinsing, drain well and invert the jar into a large bowl or other object that allows it to sit at an angle. This lets water drain constantly. Allow the jar to sit at room temperature.
Leave the bowl covered or the jar at an angle while sprouting. After a few hours, you should start to see sprouts emerge. At about the halfway mark (10 hours), rinse the buckwheat again in lukewarm water, drain and return to sprouting. Check periodically and rinse a second time if the grain starts to look dry or feels cool to the touch. You can also lightly stir or roll the jar if you need to redistribute the moisture.
The 20-24 hour sprouting time is a guideline, yours may sprout slower or faster depending on the germination rate of your raw buckwheat, the temperature of your house etc. To maintain it’s whole grain characteristics, you’ll want to stop sprouting before the sprout becomes longer than the length of the grain. The germination rate will vary between individual buckwheat groats, so look for an average and don’t worry if a few seem too long or too short.
Once it is sprouted to your liking, give it a final rinse.
Cooked sprouted buckwheat in a whole grain (left) and porridge (right) consistency.
Sprouted Buckwheat dried in the oven and dehydrator:
If you want to use sprouted buckwheat right away, simply boil in water until it becomes your desired consistency. It will take about 5 minutes for whole grain consistency or 10-15 for porridge, but it is best to taste it to check.
You can keep sprouted buckwheat in the fridge for a few days, but it will continue to sprout a little bit. You can also put it in an airtight container in the freezer, which will halt sprouting entirely. After freezing the sprout may develop a yellow-brown colour, this is normal. Thaw before cooking.
If you would like to make your buckwheat shelf stable or mill it into flour, you have to dry/dehydrate it. For safety reasons, we do not recommend this if you are away from home or asleep, so time your sprouting accordingly.
In an oven
Spread the buckwheat in a single layer on a baking tray or trays. Dry at 170°F for 4-5 hours. Note that this method may give it a lightly toasted taste and texture.
In a dehydrator
Spread the buckwheat in a single layer. Depending on your machine, you may need a mat or parchment paper to keep the buckwheat from falling through. Dehydrate at 105° for 6-7 hours. This is not considered a bacteria killing step and the buckwheat should still be cooked.
Store sprouted dried buckwheat in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 years. If you have a home mill, sprouted buckwheat also makes a wonderful flour.
We’re here to help with any questions or troubleshooting, leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Have tips and tricks to share? We would love to hear those too!