Buckwheat Flour is produced from buckwheat seeds, a grain-like plant of Poligonacee family. Buckwheat Flour has been used in Asia for a long time, above all to produce noodles. Here in Italy, it is mainly used in northern regions.
Buckwheat, notwithstanding the name, is not a kind of wheat, nor of grass. It is considered a pseudocereal. Buckwheat establishes and grows quite quickly, so it is cultivated for grain where a short season is available.
Buckwheat was first domesticated in Asia. From there, it spread to the Middle East and Europe. Between XIX and XX century, Russian regions were world leaders in buckwheat production. Here in Italy its cultivation started around XIX century in Valtellina, a valley in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. And still today, it is mainly produced in Northern regions.
In cooking, you can use Buckwheat Flour to make pasta, desserts, polenta, or cookies. You can also make crêpes, like the famous Russian blinis.
Fun fact: recipes with Buckwheat Flour are suggested for diabetic people, as it contains a slow-digestion starch, and for people suffering from venous insufficiency, as it also contains rutin, a glucoside that strengthens capillary walls. Moreover, it is a gluten-free flour, so it is perfect for people with coeliac disease.