Also known as Saracen corn, buckwheat was reportedly brought to Europe by the Crusaders, although it originated in the Himalayan mountains. In botanical terms, buckwheat is not really a grain; it is actually a member of the rhubarb family, with fruit or groats that resemble tiny, dark-colored nuts.
Grown under adverse conditions in cold weather, buckwheat contains more protein than most other grains as well as iron and B vitamins. A natural source of rutic acid, which aids in arterial and circulatory problems, buckwheat is used by many homeopaths for high blood pressure and other circulatory difficulties.
Cooked by itself, buckwheat makes a great porridge, grain dish, or even a salad. A very traditional recipe involves sautéing onions and noodles and then tossing them together with cooked kasha. Ground into flour, buckwheat is the chief ingredient used to make traditional Japanese soba noodles.