Whoo-Hoo! Going Bananas Over Banana Flour

For a long period of time I have been waiting for banana flour to become available in the United States. I’ve followed banana flourWEDO’s (Women Entrepreneurs Development Organization) progress toward marketing the flour in the USA, and I’ve also followed Stawi’s progress. Stawi, the company guided by an impressive young Kenyan entrepreneur, offers porridge in the USA, but banana flour only in weights much too large for individual use. WEDO’s banana flour, however, is now available in one pound packages! I have not been asked to write about this flour; I’m doing so because I’m excited about the prospect of a new flour with which to experiment, and I’m excited about the vision of both companies that currently market banana flour. Both WEDO and Stawi are companies formed to help disadvantaged communities grow successful businesses; buying from either company benefits people far beyond those directly involved with the respective businesses. In addition to the positive social impact my purchasing banana flour may have, I am excited about the nutritional aspect of using this grain-free, gluten-free flour in my baking. The flour is made from green bananas, so it is full of potassium. It’s also a resistant starch, which means it is also a prebiotic. Furthermore, as a resistant starch it doesn’t break down into sugar as do regular starches. A note on the WEDO banana flour website states that the resistant starch property breaks down once the flour is heated about 140 degrees F; thus, the banana flour best used in smoothies if one wants to use for its resistant starch benefit. Banana flour can and does work well, however, as a grain-free, gluten-free substitute for wheat in baked products. Since I just received my banana flour today (magically delivered onto our front porch, on a Sunday morning????), I’ve yet to find out how it tastes; however, the WEDO website explains that the green bananas from which its made give it an earthy, rather than a banana-like, flavor. I will be experimenting with this flour this week. The Freescale Austin Marathon is next weekend; my son and I are running it. He and I will need some nutritious, high-protein, potassium-rich foods to fuel our respective runs (I’ll probably need it more than he – I’ll be on the course much longer than he!). Look for a follow-up blog with ideas for ways to use this exciting newly available gluten-free flour!

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