Ingredient Insights: Green Banana Flour, Aquafaba, Erythritol, & Xanthan Gum


Is it just me or did the week go by super duper fast? I mean, wow, it’s already Sunday… Again. Anywho, to those of you who are new to the blog, welcome, this is “Ingredient Insights,” where we explain four ingredients that may seem foreign to some. We do our best to explain where these ingredients comes from, their benefits, and where you can find them – expect these posts every Sunday.

Let’s get started!


Green Banana Flour:

A popular alternative to wheat flour in Haiti and Jamaica, green banana flour is the perfect option for making baked goods and sauces for those who are paleo or gluten-free.

Green banana flour, made from unripe bananas, is a great source of resistant starches, resulting in helping lower blood sugar levels, lowering pH levels, and helping reduce cell damage. Another benefit of this flour is that it helps form good bacteria in the gut, which helps protect the cells.

When it comes to baking, green banana flour creates a very similar texture to pastry flour, which is why we use it heavily in cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and other soft baked goods. The ratio of green banana flour to wheat flour is 3 to 4 – as in use 3/4 cup of green banana flour to 1 cup of wheat flour.

And no, it doesn’t taste like bananas, although, do avoid if you’re allergic to bananas.

You can easily find green banana flour online (this is our favorite brand), at natural health stores, and at some grocery chains such as Whole Foods or Sprouts.

Here’s a few recipes where we’ve used green banana flour!


Aquafaba:

You know when you buy a can of chickpeas and drain all that liquid out of the can before getting to the chickpeas? Yeah, don’t do that next time.

You can save the liquid and make an egg white replacement out of it. Pancakes, waffles, mousse, mayonnaise, meringues, are just a few of the things you can do with it! The only difference between aquafaba and an egg white is the protein content: aquafaba has 1% protein whereas egg whites have about 10% protein.

The great thing about this thick liquid is that it’s plant-based, naturally gluten-free, low in calories, and lectin-free if you use Eden’s Brand garbanzo beansJust whip it up in a study mixer on high until it fluffs up to medium or stiff peaks and voila! Available wherever a can of chickpeas are.

“Why is it named aquafaba,” you ask? Good question. Aquafaba is a term that was coined in recent by a French Cook. The name is a combination of the Latin words for water, “aqua,” and beans, “java.”

Here are two recipes that use aquafaba!

Now what to do with all the chickpeas? There is no right or wrong answer, but the right answer is to make a Jamaican curry chickpea burger topped with a thick slather of mango coconut yogurt sauce, mmmm.


Erythritol:

The sugar that isn’t sugar. This little-to-no calorie sugar-alcohol is created by fermenting the natural sugars found in starchy root vegetables, corn, fruit or other plants and contains 70% the sweetness of regular sugar.

Pros:

  • Perfect for sugar-free or low-sugar desserts and dishes.
  • No calories, basically – regular sugar has 4 calories per gram, whereas erythritol has 0.24 calories per gram.
  • Doesn’t raise blood sugar.
  • A great antioxidant.
  • Easiest to digest among other sugar alcohols (i.e. xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol).
  • You can make soft sugar-free & guilt-free chocolate chip cookies with it!

Cons:

  • Can cause a disruption in the digestive system if eaten in high amounts, which results in bloating and lots of gas.

Swerve is our go-to brand for an erythritol-based sweetener, which you could purchase online, but you could also find it in your local natural health food store. Swerve, unlike 100% erythritol, is just as sweet as sugar, meaning it can be used in a 1:1 ratio with sugar.


Xanthan Gum:

A thickening agent found in lots of gluten-free baking, medications, and even cosmetics, xanthan gum is produced by fermenting simple sugars with the bacteria, Xanthomonas Campestris.

Xanthan gum can help reduce cholesterol, lower/stabilize blood sugar, slow growth in cancer and to top it off, it helps treat those with dysphagia or difficulty swallowing.

Blah blah blah, I know, xanthan gum’s pretty boring to talk about but it never fails to do its magic when it comes to getting that perfect elasticity and stickiness in your doughs and batters! You can find it in natural health stores (check the bulk section!) and online.

Check out this gluten-free cheese pizza that we’ve created using xanthan gum!

Along with these grain-and-lectin-free cassava tortillas!


See ya next Sunday!

Greetings from San Diego,
Kimberly

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