Like many grains, buckwheat can sometimes be cross-contaminated with wheat during processing, transportation or if it is used as a rotational crop with wheat, so it is important to find non-cross contaminated source of buckwheat—make sure the one you use is certified gluten-free.
If you’re feeling more creative, buckwheat makes a good binding agent, and becomes very gelatinous when soaked. If you soak, rinse, and then re-dry the groats you can produce a sort of buckwheat chip that is crunchy and can act as a nice side dish.
When toasted, buckwheat becomes kasha. You can pick out kasha—vs. raw buckwheat—by the color; it’s a darker reddish-brown. In addition, kasha has a strong toasted-nut scent. Conversely, raw buckwheat groats are typically light brown or green and have no aroma.
So, there you have it. You can use buckwheat and kasha safely as a nutritional, gluten-free alternative to wheat, or to create fun and tasty side dishes with buckwheat groats.