Almond flour has a pleasant taste, is easy to make at home and is full of beneficial properties. Let’s see what it is good for and how to use it in the kitchen.
Almond flour is easily obtained by grinding shelled almonds and retains all the nutritional characteristics. This flour has a grainy appearance, a moist consistency and a very delicate taste. On the market it is possible to find peeled almond flour, which is characterized by its straw color, and unpeeled almond flour which has a darker color tending to brown.
In addition, it is possible to buy almond flour already added with sugar, so it is useful to read the list of ingredients and the nutritional table in order to prefer a natural product. This flour is known because it is used for many desserts such as marzipan, almond paste or the caprese cake. Compared to other flours, it is gluten-free and is characterized above all by its high fat content. We know better all the nutritional characteristics of almond flour.
Almond flour: calories and nutritional values
Almond flour has nutritional characteristics very similar to almonds (from which the flour is obtained), therefore it turns out to be a very energetic flour providing about 600 kcal per 100 g of product. If compared to “normal” flour it provides just under double the calories compared to wheat flour 00, which provides 343 kcal per 100 g, and also compared to whole wheat flour which provides 321 kcal per 100 g.
It is a flour with few carbohydrates and an excellent supply of dietary fiber, consequently it has a low glycemic index (GI 15); it has an excellent protein content and is rich in fats, especially “good” fats such as omega-3s, and in vitamin E. Almond flour has a good content of mineral salts, in particular: potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium; this gives it remineralizing properties. Below we indicate the nutritional values per 100g of almond flour.
Nutritional values per 100g of almond flour:
- Power: 603 kcal
- Proteins: 22 g
- Carbohydrates: 4.6 g
- Fiber: 12.7 g
- Fat: 55.3 g
- Potassium: 780 mg
- Phosphorus: 550 mg
- Magnesium: 264 mg
- Soccer: 240 mg
- Vitamin: E 26 mg
Almond flour: the health benefits
As we anticipated above, this flour is obtained simply by grinding almonds and preserves not only the nutritional characteristics but also the beneficial properties for our health. So let’s see what almond flour is good for.
✓ Supports heart health
The content of vitamin E, fiber and unsaturated fats (“good” fats), means that almond flour contributes to heart health by reducing the risk of atherosclerosis thanks to the decrease in LDL cholesterol levels (“bad” cholesterol).
✓ Contrasts glycemic peaks
Almond flour, thanks to its reduced carbohydrate content and good intake of dietary fiber, has a low glycemic index, therefore it is indicated in case of diabetes as it reduces post-prandial glycemic peaks.
✓ Management of dyslipidemias
Dyslipidemias are clinical conditions in which an increase in cholesterol and / or triglycerides occurs . Almonds and almond flour can cause a reduction in total cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, while maintaining constant levels of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol).
✓ Support for bone health
Almond flour contains calcium, magnesium and phosphorus which are involved in the process of formation and maintenance of the bone structure. Therefore, almond flour is useful in the prevention of osteoporosis.
✓ Useful against inflammation
Almond flour contains two essential fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic acid, which are able to reduce inflammatory processes. In addition, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that counteracts the activity of free radicals. All this could lead to a reduction in the risk of developing cancers.
What does almond flour taste like?
Almond flour is obtained by grinding almonds, has a moist and grainy consistency and the taste is just that of the delicate almond. In the case of almond flour made from unpeeled almonds, the outer skin gives a slightly more bitter taste than peeled almond flour.
How almond flour is used in recipes
Almond flour is mainly used to make sweet recipes, especially gluten-free desserts. Among the most popular desserts we remember: the caprese cake, marzipan, amaretti and almond pastries, but it is also used to prepare biscuits and shortcrust pastry.
Generally, if used alone, it is not recommended for leavened products since the high fat content and the absence of gluten does not allow the formation of the gluten mesh and, consequently, it cannot be totally substituted for wheat flour. Despite this, it can be used to prepare muffins, cupcakes or cakes (for example the Camilla cake) if mixed with wheat flour or other flours with or without gluten. It is well suited, for example, to be combined with spelled flour or oat flour, as well as traditional wheat flour.
The proportions can vary from recipe to recipe, as well as from personal taste. To begin with, we recommend that you try replacing a third of the flour in your recipe with almond flour (in the same proportions), so as to experience its taste, texture and processing in the kitchen.
Almond flour is also used for savory preparations, in fact, it can be used to thicken dough such as meatballs or vegetable burgers or used alone or mixed with breadcrumbs for crunchy and tasty breading.
How to make almond flour at home
Making homemade almond flour is very simple, just get some shelled almonds (peeled or unpeeled according to taste and needs) and leave them in the fridge overnight in order to let them cool and prevent them from releasing too much during grinding oil. Alternatively it is possible to toast the almonds before chopping them to obtain a more intense taste and aroma, also in this case, after having toasted them it is necessary to let them cool.
After these initial steps it will be sufficient to place the almonds in a food processor and chop them until you get a powder. The advice is not to chop the almonds excessively and not to heat the chopper too much to prevent the almonds from releasing too much oil and becoming a cream. If you need to obtain a very fine powder, it is advisable to operate the mixer only for short pulses (about 2 or 3 seconds), in order to finely chop the almonds without heating the almond powder too much.
How to store almond flour
Almond flour is a very delicate flour that spoils easily, which is why it can be stored in a container with an airtight lid or vacuum packed, it is advisable to store it in the refrigerator in order to avoid exposure to air or heat sources. make the fats of the flour go rancid, compromising its taste and conservation. If stored properly, homemade almond flour can last up to a few weeks. When it goes rancid it will smell, which is acrid and, in fact, “rancid”.
Does almond flour contain gluten?
Almond flour is gluten-free, in fact it is among the most used flours especially to make gluten-free desserts, certainly the most famous dessert is the caprese cake, but it is also used for biscuits and other types of cakes. If you do not prepare almond flour at home, it is useful to check that the word “gluten-free” or the symbol of the ear slash is present on the flour package to make sure that there are no traces of gluten-containing cereals.
Can anyone with diabetes use almond flour?
Like almonds, almond flour is also an ingredient that can be used by diabetics and by all those who follow a reduced-carbohydrate diet. In fact, as we explained earlier, almond flour has a low glycemic index. Despite this, for those with diabetes it is necessary to limit the consumption of sweets, even if made with almond flour, therefore it is preferable to use this natural flour, for example by adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of almond flour to yogurt for breakfast or snack, or to garnish fresh fruit. For further information we invite you to read: Low glycemic index diet: what it is and why it is good for you.
Does almond flour contain nickel?
Anyone with a nickel allergy knows that nuts may need to be watched for. In particular, almonds are among the foods with a high nickel content , more than 1000 mcg / kg of product. Consequently, the almond flour that is obtained from the grinding of almonds contains nickel.
Contraindications of almond flour
As anticipated in the previous paragraph, almond flour is contraindicated in those who are allergic to nickel, but also for those who are allergic to almonds and other nuts. In fact, nut allergy is one of the most common allergies and can cause very serious reactions, therefore it is necessary to be very careful and avoid the consumption of all products that may contain even only traces of almonds or other nuts. Furthermore, it is a rather caloric food, so it is good to be careful in case you follow a low-calorie diet.
Does almond flour make you fat? Does your belly swell?
Undoubtedly, almond flour is a very energetic food (about 600 kcal per 100 g of product) and, despite its numerous beneficial properties for health, it is necessary not to exceed in consumption and especially in quantities to avoid that a reckless use can make us gain weight. Precisely for this reason, in addition to being used to make desserts (which are usually high-calorie also due to the high sugar content), it is preferable to use natural almond flour as an alternative to whole dried fruit (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts etc. …) and in small quantities (about 10 grams per day, equal to a spoon) to enrich yogurt, fruit, salty dough and breading.
Finally, remember that almond flour, especially pearl almond flour which has a lower amount of fiber than unpeeled almond flour, can be used by those who suffer from irritable bowel as it is a food that does not swell the belly. both for the absence of gluten but also for the moderate content of FODMAPs, that is oligosaccharides, disaccharides, fermentable monosaccharides and polyols, which often cause bloating and intestinal discomfort in the most sensitive people.
Almond flour: prices and where to buy it
Finding almond flour is simple, in fact we can find it at the supermarket or in the organic products shops in the department dedicated to flour and baked goods, or even in online shops. The recommendation is to always prefer a natural almond flour, that is, that is not added sugar. Compared to wheat flour, it has a higher cost, in fact, the price for a kilo of flour ranges from 20 USD up to 35 USD per kilo if we are talking about almonds from organic farming and of Italian origin.