- Ground chestnut flour provides an alternative to wheat flour for those who suffer from celiac disease and for other individuals on a gluten-free diet. Raw chestnuts are mostly water and starch and, although they lose much of the water content when dried and ground, they are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber and B vitamins. Compared to other nuts, which are up to 50 percent fat, chestnuts are low-fat, containing only 1 percent.
- Finely ground chestnuts are versatile and can be used in any recipe calling for flour. Traditionally, Italian polenta was made with chestnut flour, although it is now largely made with cornmeal. Ground chestnuts are used in cakes, breads, pancakes and other baked goods. They are added to porridge, soups and stews as a thickening agent. Ground chestnuts can also be used to make pastries, puddings, ice cream and other desserts calling for starch.
- You can purchase ground chestnut flour or buy whole chestnuts and grind your own as needed. Dry out fresh chestnuts before grinding them. You can also roast them prior to grinding, if desired. Peel the shell and protective layer off, then place the chestnuts in a food processor or grinder, such as a coffee grinder, and grind them until they are the desired texture. For ground chestnut meal, grind the nuts until they are small coarse pieces. For flour, continue grinding the chestnuts until they are fine and powdery.
- Use coarsely ground chestnuts in baked breads, muffins, cakes or pancakes to add flavor and texture. Replace 1/4 to 1/2 the amount of flour called for in the recipe or use in place of other nuts in the recipe. For gluten-free diets, replace all of the flour in recipes with finely ground chestnuts. To make chestnut polenta, replace the cornmeal in the polenta recipe with an equal amount of chestnut flour. Alternatively, use half cornmeal and half chestnut flour.