Chestnut Flour

From October to December

is smooth and very fine, although not as silky as common white flour. In the past, the procedure for obtaining chestnut flour was very long and laborious. After harvesting the chestnuts, they were dried in a special oven, built specifically in the woods or inside the farmer's house, called a 'caniccio', similar to a two-storey house where, in the lower floor, the fire was produced by burning the chestnut wood, whilst on the upper floor, well spaced out, there were trellises with small holes, so that the chestnuts would not fall down and on which the chestnuts would be left to dry for several days in a row, even for a whole month. The difficulty was in being able to keep the fire lit and constant for all those days. Then, once dried, the chestnuts were shelled, peeled and grinded with stone. Nowadays, there are much quicker and cheaper methods to produce chestnut flour and few remain who keep the tradition of the caniccio and the stone mill alive. 

Chestnut flour was an essential food for the poor families of the Italian mountainous and wooded areas, especially in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines where historians speak of the existence of a veritable "chestnut civilisation", because it is very nutritious and caloric, ideal for facing the winter, and also because it can be conserved for a long time, the only care that needed to be taken - as is also true today - was to store it in a closed and airless environment, usually placed inside a well-pressed wooden case, because chestnut flour tends to be easily attacked by worms.

Rich in protein, fibre and vitamins, chestnut flour is useful for intestinal bacterial flora and cholesterol. Let's find out more. Chestnut flour is obtained through the drying and subsequent grinding of chestnuts. It is very fine, of a light hazelnut colour and sweet in taste - indeed, it is also called sweet flour. It is mainly produced in mountain areas below 900 metres above sea level, where the domestic chestnut tree grows. The dried chestnuts, or the seeds of the chestnut tree from which the flour is derived, are rich in carbohydrates and mineral salts such as potassium, iron, calcium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus and chlorine. Chestnuts also contain fibre, proteins and vitamins. The vitamins are C, PP and B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6). Amongst the disadvantages, it is to be considered that chestnuts promote abdominal swelling and are not recommended for diabetics, whilst they are very useful for those who practice sports or are subject to physical or psychological stress. The fibres facilitate intestinal transit, rebalancing the intestinal bacterial flora and providing effective help in reducing cholesterol. Chestnut flour can be used both for sweet and savoury products.

Conservation

One of the most effective suggestions is to place chestnut flour in a completely hermetic container. This particular protection will keep the flour away from any type of humidity and air currents, preventing the annoying presence of mould and pests. The quality of the container, as well as its composition, is very important. We advise you to use a glass jar. It is also recommend not to place the flour in the vicinity of products that have a particularly strong odour. In fact, the flour is an excellent receptor and could therefore take on unpleasant odours, to the point of jeopardising its quality. 

Another way to guarantee the right degree of preservation is to enrich it with some herbs that have anti-repellent properties. It is necessary to proceed as follows: place some laurel leaves next to the hermetic container of the flour. This plant is truly able to remove insects and mould from the flour. For those who want to keep the flour for a very long time, there is also another remedy: place the flour in a plastic bag (never paper) and leave it in the freezer. When you need the flour, all you have to do is remove it from the freezer and use it, even whilst still frozen. If you follow these little tricks, you will have fresh flour all year round and you will ensure great success with any food you prepare.

Interesting Fact

Chestnuts are rich in complex carbohydrates and therefore represent an excellent alternative to cereals. Chestnut flour is a food with excellent nutritional properties, in fact it contains not only a high percentage of carbohydrates and starches in particular, but also contains a moderate amount of proteins, fats and minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, potassium, iron and calcium, plus vitamins B1, B2, C and PP. Chestnut flour has a very low fat content, which is why some dietitians often recommended replacing other flours with this one. Chestnut flour can also be consumed by people suffering from celiac disease because it does not contain gluten.

If you also have a particular recipe or know an interesting fact about this product, you can send it to us! Your material will be assessed and you may see it published on our site. To submit your material: redazione@ortofruttabernardi.it

Food Fairs

Festa della Farina di Castagne (Chestnut Flour Festival)

In Stazzema, in the locality of Pruno in the municipality of Seravezza (LU), the Chestnut Flour Festival is held in the month of May. During the two days of the event, there will be meetings, workshops, shows, guided tours, a market of artisan and local products and, especially, food stands where local gastronomy specialties and panini will be available.

Sagra della Polenta di Castagne (Chestnut Polenta Festival) - Montemignaio (Arezzo) - end of October

The chestnut flour of Pratomagno and Casentino is a sweet flour with a light-hazelnut colour and finely-ground. It is characterised by excellent organoleptic properties and a unique aroma, due both to the particular cultivations used, and to the drying process with wood burning, which gives it an intense roasted aroma. Within the area of ​​the historic castle, there are various tastings with food stands offering polenta, baldino, sweet wine and other traditional dishes throughout the day.

 

Nutritional summary for 100 g of product

Calories
343 kcal
Fats
3,7g
Carbohydrates
76,2g
Protein
6,1g

Fonte: nut.entecra.it

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