Though technically a seed, quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) is classified as a grain because of its nutrient profile and the way it is used in cooking. It is usually found on the supermarket shelves with other wholegrains and used as such.
Buckwheat has nothing to do with wheat and belongs to a different botanical family so is completely gluten-free and safe for coeliacs. It is thought to have originated in Asia and gradually spread across the continent to Europe several thousand years ago.
Millet grains are the seeds of a number of plant species from the millet family. These plants have one great advantage – resistance to drought – which made them a staple in people’s diets across Asia, Africa and Europe for millennia.
Dates are the fruit of date palms that originate in the Middle East but are now cultivated all over the world in tropical and subtropical climates. They are incredibly versatile and their popularity is largely thanks to their natural sweetness.
Fig trees are native to the Middle East but for centuries, they have been cultivated in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Asia and North America. Once harvested, fresh figs, keep only for about a week, which is why most are sold dried.