Kasha, or buckwheat groats, is native to central Asia and was introduced to Europe by the end of the Middle Ages. Perhaps due to its long history and travel across continents, the term "kasha" has come to refer to a variety of cereal-type products. In America, the term refers to roasted buckwheat groats, which have a toasty, nutty flavour. In Russia, "kasha" is used in a broader sense for a variety of cooked grains, including buckwheat, millet and oats.
Buckwheat kasha is not a true cereal, since it is not a grass. Its "kernels" are actually achenes, which are dry fruits similar to the "seeds" of strawberries.
While buckwheat may be known to many, particularly as a flour in pancakes and other specialty items, this month we will focus on kasha, a nutritious and tasty alternative to better-known grains.