Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Versatile superfood thrives in tropical climate

July 25, 2014

Many years ago we made a surprising discovery while we were testing different crops in our tropical garden. To our delight, we found that buckwheat grows remarkably well as a new food crop for Costa Rica.

Northerners are familiar with buckwheat as an ingredient in pancakes and multigrain breads, or as a cereal known as groats or kasha.  Buckwheat lettuce sprouts are also popular as a salad green, much like alfalfa sprouts.  This versatile food crop is a nutritional superfood that has more protein than rice, wheat, millet or corn, and is high in the essential amino acids lysine and arginine, in which major cereal crops are deficient. Buckwheat also contains no gluten, and is therefore safe for people with gluten allergy or celiac disease; it’s high in iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, magnesium copper and phosphorus; and it contains a phytochemical called rutin, which is beneficial for the cardiovascular system and prevents free-radical oxidation into potentially harmful cholesterol oxides.

Courtesy Ed Bernhardt
Buckwheat flowers (Fagopyrum esculentum). Courtesy Ed Bernhardt

On top of it all, buckwheat is easy to grow and has no serious pest problems.  Despite its name, it is not related to wheat, but rather to sorrel and rhubarb.  Its pyramid-shaped seeds are easily sown and harvested in garden beds or fields.  We till the soil to eliminate weeds, then plant the seeds two inches apart and one inch deep, and mulch the bed with a two-inch layer of grass clippings to control the weeds.  In two months the broadleaf plants will begin to bloom in white flowers, and a month later the brown seeds are ready to harvest.  We put the seeds through a corn mill to make flour and then sift out the outer husks.  The flour can be used to make pancakes, bread, cereal or blended drinks mixed with milk and bananas.

Although growing buckwheat is easy, finding seeds to plant is often difficult.  Fortunately, we’ve had a bumper crop of buckwheat seeds and we’ll offer them on our June website newsletter.

For more information on tropical gardening – naturally – visit http://thenewdawncenter.info/blog.html or contact Ed at thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com. 

140724EdBernhardtcolumnfooter

 

 

You may be interested

Henrietta Boggs, First Lady of the Revolution, dies at 102
Archive
2590 views
Archive
2590 views

Henrietta Boggs, First Lady of the Revolution, dies at 102

Mike Faulk - September 24, 2020

Henrietta Boggs, the Alabama woman who married a revolutionary President of Costa Rica and became the First Lady of the Revolution,…

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Thursday, September 24
Costa Rica
5505 views
Costa Rica
5505 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Thursday, September 24

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 24, 2020

Costa Rica announced 14 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 795, according to official data…

Costa Rica expands list of authorized states, countries for tourists
Costa Rica
1065 views
Costa Rica
1065 views

Costa Rica expands list of authorized states, countries for tourists

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 24, 2020

Costa Rica has expanded the list of countries and U.S. states from which it will welcome tourists in October, Tourism…