In this article we will talk about all the features of amaranth flour. We take as a basis the research of the University of Kansas (US State Research University), as well as the materials of various researchers and culinary specialists from the USA.
A new look at amaranth flour will allow you to learn a lot of new and interesting things about this miraculous product, presented to us by nature itself.
Amaranth flour is produced by grinding the seeds of cultivated species of this plant. This type of flour is usually sold in health food stores, but is also found in regular stores. Flour has become popular because it does not contain gluten.
Researchers describe flour in different ways – like nutty, herbal, or earthy. At the same time, its rich composition is highly appreciated, because besides a large amount of protein, it contains such unique amino acids as lysine and methionine.
A bit of history
Amaranth flour is incredibly rich in proteins. She was a staple in the diet of the Aztec and Inca. However, with the arrival of the conquistadors, the amaranth fields were destroyed.
Amaranth crops are ancient plants that grew in North and South America. This is stated in the “Guide to alternative field crops”, released in the United States.
Amaranth species also grow:
- in Mexico;
- in East Africa;
- in Central America;
- in India;
- in Nepal;
- in China;
- some European countries
The Guide to Alternative Field Crops also states that amaranth was at its peak when Aztec civilization flourished in Mexico.
The United States began to grow grain in the 1970s, initially only a few thousand acres of land were used throughout the country.
Separately, it is noted that amaranth is drought-resistant, which is beneficial and helps in the production of grain.
Varieties and types of amaranth varieties
Amaranth flour is produced from several plant species. There are three types of amaranth grain plants distributed throughout the United States:
- Amaranthus hypochondriacus (the most common species);
- Amaranthus cruentus (less common);
- Amaranthus caudatus is the third most popular species.
Other types of amaranth plants grown in the United States are not used to produce grain and, consequently, flour, but are weeds. A common characteristic of amaranth grain plants is the crimson color of the inflorescences.
If we talk in more detail about the composition of amaranth, it is established that the flour obtained from it contains substances that help the digestion and assimilation of various vitamins and minerals.
In particular, the above-mentioned lysine ensures increased adsorption of calcium entering the body. In addition, if you need (for one reason or another) so that your body absorbs as much calcium as possible, we note that it contains even more amaranth flour than cow’s milk.
In addition, it contains substances such as:
- fatty acids, including tocotrienol;
- vitamin E;
- five times more iron than wheat flour;
- vitamin C;
- vitamin A.
Great product for people who are sensitive to gluten.
People who suffer from gluten intolerance, also fully appreciate the benefits of such flour. Using it in combination with other gluten-free products, you can get rid of the unpleasant symptoms of the disease and avoid their recurrence.
Note that gluten (or gluten) is present in almost all products prepared from wheat or some other cereals. Amaranth amaranth grain flour
As Susan O’Brien, the author of The Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free Cooking, notes, you should use amaranth flour alone to thicken sauces or breading.
Use amaranth flour Susan and for the preparation of bakery products, combining it with other types of flour that do not contain gluten. In this case, the amount of content of amaranth flour in the dough should reach 25% of the total mass.
Increased antioxidant properties
A group of Brazilian specialists conducted laboratory and livestock research to evaluate the antioxidant properties of Amaranthus hypochondria, one of the main species used to produce amaranth flour.
In vitro tests have shown that amaranth seed extract has sufficient levels of total phenols, these are naturally occurring plant compounds that demonstrate increased antioxidant activity.
In an animal study, laboratory rat livers were exposed to ethanol. In rats, which were then fed with amaranth seed extract, less damage to the liver was found than in those who received alternative food.
In an article published in a 2009 report, Plant Products for Human Nutrition, the researchers indicated that their results confirm that amaranth seeds are a good source of phenols, which have a protective effect on the blood and liver of rats exposed to ethanol.
The use of amaranth flour in everyday food
The most common use of amaranth grain is to grind it into flour. This is stated in the “Alternative Field Crops Manual” already mentioned above.
You can also make popcorn or cereal from the grain. Flour is usually used in cooking:
- of bread;
- and other bakery products.
Amaranth seed flour can be combined with other types of flour.
Note! If amaranth flour is used in the preparation of bread, it must be combined with another type of flour in order for the dough to rise. If amaranth flour baking is prepared, not involving the raising of the dough, then it can be used independently!
It should be noted that products from amaranth flour should be prepared immediately before eating them. Also flour demanding storage. You have already opened it with it, then pour it into a separate container with a tight-fitting lid. And store in the refrigerator. In this case, the flour will retain its properties for six months.
As you can see, excellent properties and characteristics are noted by researchers at the University of Kansas (USA). As well as Brazilian experts who conducted experiments with rats.
We are confident that the information will allow you from a new angle to look at the gift of nature, which is the amaranth.