Thursday, August 4, 2011

Harina de Camote/ Sweet Potato Flour: A gluten-free option

As I've mentioned before, I really, really like the orange, moist version of the sweet potato found in the part of Texas I am from. Although it isn't native to Guatemala, there is another, purple-skinned, dry-meat version that is. While this version still works well with my mom's amazing sweet potato pie recipe (sort of like this one,) it's not at all the same baked or mashed. And, yes, I like the sweet potato for more reasons than flavor, they pack a nutritional punch:

"The sweet potato has been a significant source of nutrition for over 8,000 years and is now being seen as an incredibly underappreciated yet nutritious food. It is high in fiber, vitamin A, iron, and calcium. Despite the name “sweet,” studies have shown that it actually helps stabilize blood sugar levels. The roots are most frequently boiled, fried, or baked. They can also be dried and processed to make starch and flour."

Because of my obvious fondness for the sweet potato, I was really interested when I heard of people using sweet potato flour, especially to create gluten-free baked goods. 

"Sweet potato flour holds moisture well, brings a richness of flavor, and adds a slight sweetness to any baked good... such as breads, cookies, muffins, pancakes and crepes, cakes, and doughnuts. It can also be used in soups, as a thickener for sauces and gravies, and in breading for fish. It is raw flour and does not require cooking before use. Sweet potato flour is great at holding moisture in baked goods and imparts a slight sweetness."

Now, this, is something I want to try! I'm always up for finding different baking options, and while none of us are allergic to gluten, I work with people who are and who are always looking for better options for baking. Besides, "according to some celiac specialist researchers, everyone has some reaction to gluten, but non-celiacs recover quickly" so including some gluten-free goods in the family diet is likely to benefit us all anyway.

While "harina de camote" or "sweet potato flour" is considered a product of Peru, I haven't found the flour yet in the physical Latin American market arena, only online. So, experimenting with this flour is still on my "to do" list for future endeavors. However, I have found how to make my own. This site about George Washington Carver and how to make sweet potato flour tells a lot of the sweet potatoes history as well. If you are interested in a pdf document titled "Making sweet potato chips and flour," follow this link. For just a website explaining how to do that, follow this link.

There are apparently many, many ways you can use sweet potato flour as a substitute for regular flour, but if you would like some recipes using specifically sweet potato flour try this link.

Have you tried using sweet potato flour? What other successful gluten-free options have you found?

1 comment:

  1. Hello, this is another link where you find sweet potato flour from Peru more cheap. Bye.