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1. Unbleached flour is a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour.
No bleaching agents are used in processing this flour. It has a natural grain taste, and doesn’t contain leftover additives from processing.
Use: This flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour in any recipe without any significant change in flavor or texture.
Shelf life: About two years in an airtight coffee can
2. Whole-wheat flour is a good source of fiber.
Ground from the raw kernels of wheat, this flour contains all three parts of the wheat kernel and about 6g of fiber per ½ cup (compared to about 1g of fiber for white flour).
Use: You can replace up to half (sometimes more, depending on the recipe) of your all-purpose flour with whole-wheat.
Shelf life: Will keep for 1 to 3 months on a cool, dry pantry shelf or 2 to 6 months in the freezer
3. Buckwheat flour is gluten-free.
Buckwheat isn’t actually wheat at all – it’s the seed of a grass plant that has a characteristic earthy flavor. While buckwheat doesn’t contain gluten, it’s often mixed with all-purpose flour in pre-made mixes, so check the label if you’re eating gluten-free.
Use: You can blend buckwheat flour with wheat flour to boost both nutrition and flavor. If you’re using buckwheat for bread, no more than half of the total flour should come from buckwheat.
Shelf life: Up to 2 to 3 months in the refrigerator and for 6 months or longer in the freezer in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped
4. Pure cornmeal is a whole grain.
Though many varieties have the germ removed, making them more shelf stable (and less nutritious), whole grain cornmeal is simply ground, dried corn kernels. Recipes often combine cornmeal with all-purpose flour to create a lighter texture. Keep cornmeal in a refrigerator for freshness.
Use: Make polenta with coarse ground cornmeal or use finely ground cornmeal for cornbread or corn muffins.
Shelf life: Up to 6 months in an airtight container in the fridge
5. Almond flour is gluten-free.
Almond flour is calorie rich, so be mindful of serving size. To make it from scratch, carefully pulse almonds in a food processor until meal forms – too much processing and you’ll end up with almond butter.
Use: Almond flour is good in “quick-bread” type recipes, like muffins, nut breads, and pancakes. It’s not good for foods such as bread that require real dough (you can’t knead it). Usually, more eggs are required when baking with almond meal to provide more structure.
Shelf life: 3-6 months
6. Chickpea flour is an excellent source of fiber.
Also known as garbanzo bean flour, this mild flour is often used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Once opened, keep chickpea flour in the freezer.
Use: Thicken soups and sauces with a sprinkle of chickpea flour, or use it in baked goods (you can substitute almost all of the wheat flour in a recipe with chickpea flour).
Shelf life: Up to 12 months in the freezer
(Credit for majority of this info goes to Stop & Shop’s ‘Healthy Ideas’ magazine.)
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