Chestnuts are the fruits of the chestnut tree, Castanea sativa, and can be tasted in different ways and preparations, from boiled to roasted chestnuts or even in soups. Today we’ll see another use of chestnuts, the flour, obtained by drying and grinding chestnuts. This flour is naturally sweet and can be used to thicken puddings, smoothie, soups, to prepare desserts such as cakes, biscuits and plum cakes or the famous castagnaccio, you can find the recipe in the Healthy Food section. Chestnut flour makes the recipes, in which it is used, real restorative with beneficial healthy properties thanks to its intake of proteins, vitamins, fibers and mineral salts, on the contrary the fat content is limited.
In addition to this the chestnut flour can also be eaten by people with celiac disease because it doesn’t contain gluten (Demirkesen et al, Journal of Food Engineering, Dec 2010). This flour is rich in folate, vitamins E and group B, iron, zinc, which strengthens nails and hair, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.
Moreover, this type of flour is useful to reduce the atrophy of skeletal muscles thanks to the presence of substances such as tocopherols and some types of lipids that counteract cell degeneration and protect muscle mass (Frati et al, Food Funct , Nov 2014). Finally, it brings beneficial amides to the intestinal tract. In fact, according to a study performed by a team of the University of Naples Federico II (Blaiotta et al, Food Microbiol, Dec 2013), the starches of chestnuts, together with other substances, such as hydrophobic peptides, composed of amino acids, are able to protect the probiotics from the attacks of gastric juices of the stomach. Probiotics are thus made more resistant and can reach the intestine where they perform their beneficial action. Chestnut flour can easily be bought in shops, even online.
Alternatively, you can prepare it by yourself, the process is not difficult, just a little long. Make a small incision on the peel of the chestnuts and place them in a pot full of water. Bring to a boil and, from that moment, cook for about three quarters of an hour. Drain the chestnuts and let them cool down. Remove the peel. Bake chestnuts on a baking pan covered with baking paper and cook at 160 degrees for 1 hour, let them cool and then blend in a blender until a flour is obtained.