by James Aldwin
Looking for a gluten free flour you can make yourself? Why not try incorporating vitamin-packed flour made from dehydrated sweet potatoes into your meals?
Sweet potatoes are a delicious and highly nutritious food that can be a valuable addition to your diet. We’re not suggesting you eat mashed sweet potatoes three times a day; instead, consider using sweet potato flour in your everyday baking, such as breads, muffins, puddings, coatings, and gravies. By doing so, you not only enhance the nutritional value of your dishes but also make good use of your dehydrator during the winter months.
Sweet potatoes are among the healthiest foods available to us. They are a nutritional powerhouse. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, while being low in fat and relatively low in calories. Sweet potatoes rank alongside spinach and carrots as one of the richest sources of vitamin A. The characteristic yellow-orange color of sweet potatoes is indicative of their high vitamin A content, with deep orange varieties containing up to five times more vitamin A than paler ones.
Another advantage of sweet potatoes is their significant vitamin C content, which remains intact even after baking. Additionally, a medium-sized sweet potato, with only 140 calories, provides a considerable amount of iron. So, why limit all these nutritional benefits to just being a side dish? Sweet potato flour is not a new concept; it’s an age-old idea that deserves a revival. The credit for this idea goes to George Washington Carver, the renowned American botanist who was famous for his work with peanuts. Carver dedicated significant time to developing various products from sweet potatoes, including flour.
Making your own sweet potato flour involves a simple two-step process. Begin by washing and peeling raw sweet potatoes, then slice them into quarter-inch thick pieces. Next, dry the potato slices until they become crisp, just like potato chips. If using an electric dehydrator, set it to 120°F and allow drying for approximately 16 hours. If using a solar dehydrator, the process may take longer. Alternatively, you can blanch the potato slices before drying to prevent spoilage and discoloration. Simply immerse the slices in boiling water for a minute, then spread them evenly on drying trays. Initially, they may shrink, but continue drying them for several sunny days until they become dry, flexible, and leathery.
Once the sweet potatoes are completely dry, grind them into flour using a food grinder, blender, or food processor. It’s best to perform this step quickly before your family discovers the delectable taste of sweet potato chips. To give you an idea, we tested 10 large sweet potatoes weighing approximately three and a half pounds, which yielded about one and three-fourth cups of flour. If you don’t plan to use the flour immediately, store it in an airtight container away from light. However, we recommend making a batch of these delightful sweet potato muffins for the holidays.