Thank goodness for all those wonderful ladies and gentleman who call themselves food scientists. They figure out so many strange and wonderful things for us to eat!
Pretty much all of the food science that focuses on gluten-free food centers around at least one of the following problems: “it doesn’t taste good” or “it isn’t healthy.”
Apparently, fruit flours might be a solution to both.
According to an article in Bakery & Snack, researchers in Ireland are almost finished up with a multi-year study examining how oranges and apples can be used in gluten-free baking. The researchers, funded by the Irish government, are using the core, pips, and skin of apples and oranges (otherwise known as the pomace) in novel ways.
These “remnants” of fruit are traditionally disposed of after the rest of the fruit turns into delicious juice and cider. Instead, researchers are drying them and milling them into a sweet, high-fiber baking flour.
These new fruit flours are not meant to be a stand-alone product, but could comprise 5-15% of a baked good’s total flour — supplemented by rice, potato, corn, and/or the other usual suspects. The researchers are finding that apple flour can make up a larger percent of the total than can orange flour, which I suppose makes sense given how bitter orange pith can be.
Full nutritional studies have yet to be done, but the scientists believe the flours will be high in antioxidants.
A similar idea is already on the market here in the US: grape flour. WholeVine, based in California, are marketing a line of flours (along with oils anad gluten-free cookies and a few other things) made from the skins or seeds of different grapes. The company reports similarly high levels of antioxidants and fiber, along with a host of other grape-specific benefits.
Have you ever used a fruit flour in gluten-free baking? What percent of your recipe’s requested flour did you sub it in for? How did it come out?