In the past few years, there have been a lot of buzzwords when it comes to food. There have also been a lot of alternatives in recipes. From healthier options to gluten-free and organic – we have more choices than ever before. Almond flour is one of those choices that has a lot to offer.
If you’re not familiar with it, here is your ultimate guide on almond flour. What it is, how to use it, the benefits of almond flour, and everything you ever need to know.
What is Almond Flour?
It probably sounds pretty simple; almond flour is made out of yummy almonds, right? Well, you’d be right if that’s what you think but it’s a little more exciting than that.
Many people may realize this but in case you didn’t know, almonds aren’t technically a nut. In fact, they are a what is known as a drupe, which is typically a fruit. This fruit has a hard shell, an outer skin, and a pulpy middle.
This article from Huffpost makes it more simple to explain:
Almonds are indeed a member of the prunus family that includes peaches, though not the same species. The plants are incredibly similar. Both Gradziel and Richard Rosecrance, a fruit tree researcher at California State University, Chico, told of farmers in Asia who breed peach-like fruits for their large, edible kernels, which can be removed from the pit and snacked on like almonds.
What makes almond flour are the almond seeds that grow on an almond tree. They are crushed up into what is known as almond flour. Well, not so fast. First the almonds have to be blanched to remove their skin. Then you use what is left and this creates your almond flour after it is crushed.
How Do You Get Almond Flour?
There are two ways to get almond flour. Either you make it yourself with almonds or you buy the almond flour already made. Both are excellent options but if you’re looking to save time, buying it pre-made is probably your best option. Plus, you can often find it online fairly inexpensive – around $8 or so per pound.
If you do decide to make it yourself, here are some tips from Paleo Hacks:
Starting with almonds that are already sliced can make this process a little easier, but basically, you want to put the almonds in a food processor (or blender) and grind them until the flour is to your liking.
Be careful to not let the nuts get oily. This can be avoided by doing a stop-start motion with the on and off switch. The continuous heat (if you leave the processor on) will start to make the nuts oily, which will not be ideal when making flour.
What are the Benefits of Almond Flour?
So, what is so great about almond flour? A lot! Especially if you’re on a gluten-free or low-carb diet.
One of the major benefits is the fact that almond flour has the same profile of whole almonds when it comes to nutrients. Why is this important? Out of all the nuts, almonds are the ones that win hands-down when it comes to nutrients. Sure, we mentioned that it’s not technically a nut but it’s considered a nut. So while that may be confusing, it’s easy to see how good almond flour is for nutrition.
One of the things they have is plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which comes from the polyunsaturated fats in them. These fatty acids are good for you by helping with things like minimizing stroke risk, helping the blood clot, brain cell growth, and heart health.
As far as carbs, the Diet Doctor says:
The amount of carbs in in almonds can vary significantly depending on origin, yield, soil, amount of sun etc. but often ends up between 4-8 grams of carbohydrates per 100 gram.
It’s low in sugar but high in protein and has antioxidants from its Vitamin E. While a serving size of almonds has 11 grams of fat, it is important to note that over half of the grams of fat (7 grams) are monounsaturated fats, which are good for your heart. There is less than a gram of saturated fat and that’s a good thing.
What Can You Do With It?
Now that you’re ready to try almond flour, there are plenty of recipes that are scrumptious and easy to make. Try this great Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins recipe from Betsy’s Best. Even at the supermarket, you’re apt to find craveable food with almond butter as an ingredient. This includes things like baked goods, cookies, and cereals. But if you’re making it yourself or buying bulk almond flour, then you’re probably wanting to make your own baked goods and it’s an excellent alternative to wheat flour.
Keep in mind that it does not have the perfect ratio of 1:1 to wheat flour. This is due to its higher moisture content which can also make it have a grainier consistency than traditional flour. This means it may not be ideal for things like gravies but for baking treats, breads, and things like that – it will be quite tasty.
Of course, another thing to realize is that since it’s made from almonds, it is going to have a slight almond taste, unlike wheat flour. That, however, is a plus when it comes to breads and desserts.
Give It a Try
If wheat flour is something you are trying to avoid, almond flour works great. It is also ideal for those watching their carb intake. It’s healthier than flour made from wheat and if you love the taste of almonds then you’re going to love creating mouth-watering treats from almond flour.
If you’re the kind of person who loves making things from scratch, then you’ll wear your badge of honor proudly by making your own almond flour. If you’d rather cut to the chase and just have a healthier alternative made simple, choose to buy your almond flour at the store or online where someone else has done the work for you.