Well, there's that whole hulling issue......
We grew buckwheat for the first time this year. I bought a few whole groats from Whole Foods (about a handful for less than 18 cents) and I planted a small row in my garden. I think I planted 12 individual plants. I had a lot of groats left over, but that means I have more seeds for next year!
They grew through some pretty cold temperatures and ended up putting up flowers early. I just harvested the last of the seeds today on July 1st. I pulled up the plants and put them down around my asparagus where I will use them as a mulch until they break down and become fertilizer.
But back to the hulling.
We wound up with less than a cup of groats. Not bad from planting just a dozen in the first place, but not super stellar either.
I didn't have a lot to experiment with, but we tried three different methods to remove the hulls.
1. We tried putting them in a mesh bag and pounding/rolling with a rolling pin.
2. We ground them in a manual coffee grinder.
3. We ground them in a mortar and pestle.
My rules were: I wanted to use what we had on hand and I wanted to do it without electricity. I had read that people grind the groats in their blenders, but I wanted an off-grid solution. I keep buckwheat around as an emergency food (and emergency seeds!) so it's important that it be useful in an emergency (no electricity) situation.
Long story short - the rolling pin did nothing but smash the groat and make everything super difficult to separate. The coffee grinder did a pretty good job of leaving whole hulls mixed with ground groats. If it had been windy outside, I could have winnowed the hulls and it might have been a great solution.
The mortar and pestle was the most helpful. After grinding through the coffee grinder, I sifted the flour/hulls then ran what was left in the sifter through the mortar and pestle. That turned any big groat pieces into flour and then I sifted it again.
I'm not going to tell you it was easy, fast, or efficient - because it wasn't. If I ever become a serious buckwheat grower, then I am going to need to come up with another way. Until then....
We wound up with 1/8 cup of buckwheat flour. It's not pure white and does contain some hull bits. Extra fiber, right? Uggh.
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