Oatmeal has long held the warm breakfast cereal reins, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other grains out there to try. If you’ve been looking to change up your oatmeal game, then buckwheat is the place to start.
Buckwheat is actually a seed, which is what makes it popular with the gluten-free crowd and those sensitive to wheat. In fact, buckwheat is related to both rhubarb and sorrel. The list of nutritional benefits is long: Buckwheat is high in zinc, copper, and manganese in comparison to other cereal grains, and, similar to oats, it’s high in protein.
As a warm breakfast, buckwheat does an excellent job. The texture is entirely different from a bowl of oatmeal, with a bit more to bite into, and in this recipe the addition of sweet and tart dried cranberries and the kick of orange peel gives you a meal that’s sure to start the day right.
Compared to oatmeal, buckwheat takes a little bit longer to cook, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. This recipe uses a whole orange, and since it involves using the peel, I recommend buying organic. If you’re looking to cut down on weight when packing your food – or just in need of a fun food project – consider drying your own citrus peels. Incredibly light, they’re a great way to add a lot of flavor to any dish on the trail, plus it’s a great way to make sure your peels don’t go to waste.
1 medium-sized organic orange
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup (6 ounces, 170 grams) buckwheat groats
2 cups (480 milliliters) water
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (2 ounces, 60 grams) dried cranberries, about one large handful
Ground cinnamon to taste
Rinse off the orange, then using a knife, carefully slice off the outer part of the peel. Note that the more pith you get (the white stuff) the more bitter the porridge will taste, so if you are not fond of bitter flavors, try to cut off mostly the orange part and as little of the pith as possible. If you like a slightly bitter orange flavor, keep some of the pith. Chop the slices into smaller pieces and place in a pot with the honey.
Place the pot on the stove on medium-high heat, and stir the peels and honey regularly until the honey starts to bubble, then add in the buckwheat groats, water and salt and cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat a little, and let the buckwheat simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, until most of the water has been soaked up and the buckwheat is tender. I personally like my buckwheat a little chewy, so I cook on the shorter side of that time range. If you want the buckwheat a little mushier, cook a little longer.
Remove the pot from the heat, add the dried cranberries, cover and let sit for about 5 minutes. While you’re waiting, use the time to brew your morning coffee or tea.
Remove any leftover pitch on the orange, then cut the orange into half. Cut each half into smaller pieces. Spoon the porridge into bowls, and top with with the chopped orange.
Sprinkle the porridge with ground cinnamon. If you want the porridge a little sweeter, drizzle a little honey on top. An extra dash of flaky sea salt doesn’t hurt either, giving the porridge a good balance of sweet and salty.