Chestnut flour, Tuscany’s secret ingredient, is a staple food in many kitchens. Actually, It’s a superfood, not to mention gluten-free. It can be used in a wide variety of recipes and is especially good for baking due to its sweet taste.
Chestnut flour was discovered a long time ago, we meant, centuries ago in Europe but only got discovered in New York, USA around 1904 on Long Island. Source: Science Daily
It can be found at most grocery stores nowadays, but what exactly is it? What are its uses and is it as healthy as they say?
From fresh pasta to sweet cookie dough, we’ve got some answers for you because you definitely need to experience this wonder and tasty flour at least once in your lifetime.
Chestnut flour has hundreds of culinary applications
It’s true! Water chestnuts are a great substitute for any kind of flour, and they’re also gluten-free. There are many recipes out there that use water chestnut flour as an alternative to regular white flour or wheat flour when making pancakes, waffles and other baked goods.
The protein in this tasty tuber is high in B vitamins (including B6), iron, zinc and magnesium–we will expand and explain more on this topic further down in this article.
In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that water chestnuts contain 30% more potassium than bananas!
This makes them great for people who suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure issues because they can help regulate your heart rate by lowering your systolic blood pressure levels while increasing diastolic blood flow rates.
Chestnut flour is the best gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
Chestnut flour can be used to make many of your favourite recipes, including loaves of bread, cookies and muffins.
It also makes an excellent base for soups and other main dishes in which you want a thick texture.
If you’re concerned about the potential allergic reactions from wheat products, then this option could be perfect for you.
In addition to being able to make delicious baked goods without having to worry about cross-contamination from other ingredients—such as nuts—this type of blend will also allow people who are sensitive toward dairy products such as cheese or milk products because these foods contain lactose sugar molecules
Chestnut flour is a great source of dietary fibre.
If you didn’t know yet, fibres help to keep your digestive system and bowels regular and healthy, which can help to lower cholesterol levels.
“The American Heart Association Eating Plan suggests eating a variety of food fibre sources. Total dietary fibre intake should be 25 to 30 grams a day from food” source: UCSF Health
While chestnuts have about 5 grams of fibre by 100 grams of nuts, you can already understand that you are getting about 20% of your daily intake just by incorporating only one portion into your diet and your recipes. source: WebMD
It also regulates blood sugar levels, which can make you feel less hungry after eating.
Not only does this delicious ingredient help to keep us full longer, but it also has other health benefits as well!
Chestnut flour is full of essential vitamins and minerals.
You’ll also benefit from chestnuts’ vitamins and minerals, such as:
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid
is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals and help to control infections.
Vitamin E is a nutrient that’s important to vision, reproduction, and the health of your blood vessels. It also has antioxidant properties.
Eyesight’s regulation and immune functions
Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B3 or niacin
Helps to lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood, while also boosting our metabolism. This can make you feel less hungry after eating. Vitamin B2 or riboflavin aids in digestion and helps us break down the foods we eat so that they are easier for our bodies to absorb nutrients from.
Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid
is an essential nutrient that helps to release energy from food.
Also known as pyridoxine, B6 is essential for the metabolism of amino acids and the formation of hemoglobin. It also plays a role in nerve function, immune system health and blood glucose levels. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. It also supports collagen production, which helps keep our skin looking young and vibrant!
Which plays a critical role in DNA synthesis, cell division, and enzyme activation. The body needs folate to produce red blood cells; for this reason, it’s important for pregnant women to get enough of this nutrient from their diets or through supplements.
In addition to its vitamin K content, chestnut is also a good source of phosphorus and magnesium.
Sources from Wikipedia, Mayo Clinic and Food Data Central
Chestnut flour also has these additional health benefits:
-Support Heart Health
The cardio-protective benefits of chestnuts are undeniable. They’re an excellent source of minerals like magnesium and potassium, which can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart disease or stroke!
-Control Blood Sugar
The fibre in chestnuts can help balance your blood sugar and avoid spikes. Eating high-fibre foods ensures that the body absorbs starches slowly, which is good for people with diabetes because it helps prevent major changes to their glucose levels when they eat certain types of carbohydrates (like bread)
Did you know that chestnut flour can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes?
In fact, use chestnut flour for making bread, cakes, cookies, muffins and more.
Chestnut flour has the same amount of protein as the other flours but fewer carbs so it makes a great substitute for wheat if you’re trying to reduce your carb intake or just eat healthier.
You can use chestnuts in place of all-purpose flour when making pancakes or waffles on the weekend morning without having to worry about adding any extra sugar!
There are plenty of ways that chestnut flour can be used in cooking including pasta doughs (pasta is basically dough), pizza crusts (add some olive oil then add toppings), quick bread (try making your own gluten-free cornbread) and even homemade ice cream toppings like chocolate chips!
And how to make your own gluten-free chestnut flour?
Here is a little step guide.
- The first step is to cook whole raw chestnuts in their shells. During the holidays, from early November through New Year’s Day, local grocery stores should sell them. If you can correctly identify wild chestnuts, you may also forage them from nearby trees.
- Slice an “X” into the sides of each chestnut with a sharp knife. The X pattern makes it easier to peel later because moisture needs a location to escape while roasting the nut inside.
- Cook for a maximum of 30 minutes on roast mode at 400°F (200°C) Do not overcook them, many dislike the taste of chestnut flour if overcooked. it is an acquired taste.
- Now it’s time to peel them or cut them in half. The inner seed coat will shatter off when chestnuts are pressed between the palms of your hands. It is easier if the nuts are hot.
- With the “meat” that has been extracted from the nuts, it is time to chop them off into rough pieces. It will be easier to dehydrate them.
- Take your food dehydrator and use the lowest temperature setting at around 105°F (40°C) anywhere between 12 to 24 hours.
- Once completely dry, toss the pieces in a food processor or blend and crush them until it becomes a fine powder.
- Make sure to seal tight the finished chestnut flour if you want to keep it away in storage. Like regular flour, it is not humidity friendly, however, it can be kept in the freezer.
Chestnut flour is a must-have staple for your pantry
If you’re gluten-free, paleo, or just want to avoid wheat or other flours. It’s a bit of an acquired taste – somewhat like wheat flour – but once you get used to it, you’ll find that it has a lot to offer in terms of both flavour and nutrition.
When it comes to nutrition, chestnut flour is a powerhouse and you know that already as we mentioned above.
As for flavour, chestnut flour has a nutty taste that pairs well with sweet or savoury dishes.
There are a few things to keep in mind when cooking with chestnut flour, though.
-It is a very dense flour, so you’ll need to use less of it than you would wheat flour.
-Because it doesn’t contain gluten, it won’t rise like wheat flour, so don’t expect your chestnut flour recipes to produce light and fluffy results.
Assuming you’re okay with a denser final product, there are lots of great chestnut flour recipes out there for you to try.
Some cons about raw chestnuts, yes there are some!
There is no contraindication that this nut could actually create a serious health risk; however, it is better to keep in mind that the raw chestnuts in stores are safe to eat for most people, but they do contain tannic acid which can cause stomach irritation or headaches (like red wine)
Don’t worry, you have more chance to get intoxicated with your bottle of wine than your chestnut flour!
Use chestnut flour as much as you want.
On rare occasions, if you experience discomfort while consuming them regularly then please talk with your doctor about how best to manage it! Source: WebMD.com
If you’ve been thinking about trying water chestnut flour, then go for it! It’s a great way to add some healthy nutrients and fibre to your diet to remain healthy.
I know that when I first started using this ingredient in my cooking, I was skeptical at first because of its texture and density – but once you get used to how unique the flour is, it becomes second nature.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start experimenting with it today!
Most frequent questions and answers
Yes, chestnut flour is a healthy ingredient because it contains nutrients such as fibre, minerals and antioxidants. It is also a naturally gluten-free and allergen-free product
Chestnut flour is a type of flour made from ground-roasted chestnuts.
Some chestnut flour recipes taste like nuts and others have a fruity flavour.
There are a lot of great chestnut flour recipes available online such as chestnut flour pancakes, chestnut flour bread, crepes, pie crust, polenta, chestnut flour cookies and chestnut flour pasta. You can bake it, cook it, and put it in the oven. You can use the flour as it was commercial-known flours.