Just when I thought I had heard of every kind of Flour you could use to bypass Gluten in your diet, I’ve discovered something new: Banana Flour. That’s right. And the image the name conjurers up, alone, poses just the first of a lot of questions that I think deserve to be answered…
“Oh,” I hear you saying. “Banana Flour. Is that something new?” The answer is, “Depends on where you live.”
I had never heard of Banana Flour before reading a post about it on an exotic food news feed this morning. But judging by the background info, I would venture to guess that many of my readers probably have. Apparently, Banana Flour is – and has been for a long time – popular in parts of there world where there are lots of Bananas available and very little, if any, Wheat Flour. Also, where Banana Flour is commonly used, what little Wheat Flour you can find is usually very expensive.
Flour from Bananas?
It takes a little imagination to come up with a way to make Flour from Bananas. But in parts of Africa and Asia where Bananas are a major part of the traditional diet, you can be sure folks have tried using them in just about every imaginable way.
Drying is a method that folks have been using for millennia to preserve foods for storage over the hard times. Some dried foods are re-hydrated before using them, but a few are used as is – like Herbs and Spices. Green Bananas are used to make Banana Flour. They’re simply peeled, chopped and dried, and ground fine like you would Grain. I’m advised the flavour is mildly sweet and nutty; more like White Flour than Whole Wheat. And the consistency is quite different.
Using Banana Flour
The general guideline is to use about 25 percent less Banana Flour by volume in a given recipe than the amount of Wheat Flour called for. But you’ll have to experiment to achieve the density you prefer in your finished products. You can use Banana Flour in all your favourite Gluten Free recipes.
From what I can see, Banana Flour is generally used most successfully in Roux and Slurry, Cookies and Quick Breads, Flatbreads and other applications which don’t aim for a super-light, fluffy finish. But fans say you can get a lighter, fluffier finish with Banana Flour that you can achieve with any of the other non-Wheat alternatives. Think ‘Almond Flour’. Any recipe you can raise using Baking Powder, you can bake with Banana Flour. Just play with the amount by which you reduce the volume of Banana Flour compared to Wheat flour.
Where do you get Banana Flour?
Consider that Banana Flour, where popular and plentiful, is extremely inexpensive. Almond Flour, its closest equivalent, is extremely costly, compared to other alternatives no matter where you source it. But where do you get it?
Not at my local bulk food store, I’ve discovered. Sometimes at ‘health food’ stores, which specialize in the off-beat and supplements. But the best source for Banana Flour at a reasonable price is the Internet. Just Google ‘Banana Flour’ and you’ll get back dozens of sources where you can order on line and have the stuff shipped directly to you. Just stick to sources which will be shipping from your home country. There’s been some confusion as to where Banana Flour fits into the import-export rules.
Okay. Now you know. Banana Flour could just be the next big thing in Gluten Free cooking. And you’ll be in at the ground floor!
~ Maggie J.