I’m always looking for ways to put more gluten-free food on the table. So when I discovered wild chestnuts, I began looking for ways to incorporate their nutritious nuts into my diet. Chestnut flour is a gluten-free, naturally sweet flour that has been part of Italian cuisine for centuries. It keeps for a long time and can be used in all kinds of breads and baked goods. This product is almost impossible to find in stores at a reasonable price, so, I decided to prepare it at home and the task was more than successful. I am sharing with you the steps to follow.
In fact, the starting point of the process varies depending on whether you have chestnuts fresh from the tree or chestnuts that have already been roasted and shelled. You can skip the required steps. Raw chestnuts have spiny shells. You must first remove them and dispose of them.
Roast and peel the raw chestnuts
- On a cutting board, use a serrated knife to make an X on the flat side of each chestnut.
- Place the scored chestnuts on a cookie sheet. Shelling allows steam to escape from the nuts and prevents them from exploding in the oven.
- Roast the chestnuts in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes. You will notice that the skins begin to peel away from the Xs.
- Remove them from the oven and let them cool enough to handle. The shell and inner skin come off easily when the nuts are still hot. If they get cold and hard, microwave them for 30 seconds to warm them up and make their skins tender again.
Dehydrate roasted and peeled chestnuts
- Cut whole chestnuts in half before drying to speed up the dehydration process.
- Spread your shelled and chopped nuts on a dehydrator sheet and dry them at 40 degrees Celsius for 12 to 24 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator, dry them on a cookie sheet in your oven at the lowest temperature possible. Or, place the chestnuts on a cookie sheet and let them dry in a room under a ceiling fan. This process may take 2-3 days. You’ll know they’re done when the skin comes off easily.
- When the almond pieces are so hard you can’t break them in half with your fingers.
Grind the dehydrated chestnuts
- Using a spice grinder or a food processor, grind your dehydrated chestnuts until the flour reaches the degree of fineness required for the chosen recipe.
- If you are making polenta, stop when the texture of the dough resembles cornmeal. If you are making flour, keep stirring until it is very fine.
Stored in a zippered bag in the freezer, chestnut flour can be stored for several years. In the refrigerator, it will probably keep for at least a year.
I can’t say for sure how long chestnut flour will keep at room temperature. I’d guess it would have a shelf life of at least a few months, but I’d suggest you refrigerate it instead.
What are the benefits of this gluten-free flour?
Chestnuts are high in carbohydrates, low in fat and cholesterol free. Try using chestnut flour in gluten-free recipes like pancakes, polenta, pasta, pies, puddings, baked goods, breakfast shakes. Let your imagination be free! This product is actually ideal for preparations where you don’t use yeast to allow them to rise. It can replace up to 20% of regular flour in a recipe to add a mild sweetness to dough or be the main ingredient in many savory dishes.
Bonus: How to make Air Fryer Roasted Chestnuts?
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