Tag Archives: low-carb flour

Courgette or Marrow Flour.

I saw this method on an American homesteading site, she went on about how great it was and that it could be used as a replacement for coconut flour. As we can’t grow coconuts here, but usually have plenty of courgettes and marrows, I thought this could be good…  

The directions were easy enough, grate the courgette, spread on trays and dehydrate till very dry, then grind into flour. I started with 2773g of marrow, peeled, deseeded and grated it was down to 1716g. I decided to put it in a cloth and squeeze out any extra moisture before dehydrating, courgettes are mostly water so this should speed up the dehydrating time. Then spread it on trays to dehydrate… 

Courgettes growing in our garden

Hours later and I still had a wettish mass. Because we are off grid on solar power and with it getting later in the day, I decided to put some in the woodstove oven, which was still a bit too hot and dried it too crispy. The other trays were still not dry so popped it all in the oven. Was getting a bit frustrated with it by this time, especially when I got busy elsewhere and dried it to brown and crispy… I removed all the fiddly tiny dried bits and put the moist stuff back into to dry some more.  

Finally it was dry and I could grind it up in the blender to a reasonably flour like texture and it was weighed in at 64g, maybe ½ a cup of flour. All that time and effort for ½ a cup of flour. If you were paying for the power to dehydrate the courgette on top of the time taken, it just doesn’t seem worth it to me.  

Thinly sliced marrow for dehydrating

I tried again a few days later, with thin slices of marrow, this was actually easier and the drying time seemed similar. I think if we had the solar dehydrator up and running or drying racks above the woodstove then this would be the way to go with dehydrating courgettes or marrows, as due to their high-water content the drying does take a lot of time. But at least by leaving it in slices I avoided all the fiddliness that came with the grated courgette. 

I had pretty much decided that we would just use the courgettes and marrows without dehydrating, as they are actually a useful baking ingredient when used fresh. From chocolate cakes to fritters and pizza bases, grated courgette has many uses. Mature marrows can be stored for several months and used in the same way as courgettes. But then I tried baking a marrow flour chocolate cake… Wow! it really is just as good as coconut flour and with no coconut flavour or the odd texture that coconut can have, so better than coconut flour!  Plus you only need 1/2 a cup of flour to bake a cake.

So next season (fed all the marrows to the pigs in annoyance and forgot about my pizza bases!! oops) we will sort a better drying system and try again. But just thinking about it we do still have Austrian oilseed pumpkins to deseed, hmmm… 

Marrow flour chocolate cake

Pumpkin seed and Sunflower seed flour.

I have put these two seeds in a post together partly because we often use them together and partly because I found the sunflower seed de-husking to be so time consuming and frustrating that I have given up on them as a homegrown flour option. That is until I find a faster de-husking method that actually works… 

Pumpkin seed flour 

While all pumpkins have seeds, it is the hull-less or ‘naked’ seed varieties which are usually grown specially for their edible seeds. We grow the Austrian oilseed pumpkin which has lovely green hull-less seeds. The flesh we find to be rather tasteless, so not good as roast pumpkin or for any pumpkiny recipes. But if you treat it more as a vegetable soup or stew vege, it still has its use in the kitchen, grated it could be used place of courgette or marrow in some recipes. We will often use it as pig food over the slower grass growth months, just harvesting the seeds as we need them. Pumpkin plants are easy to grow and if given well fed soil will produce several pumpkins per plant. They are grown over the warmer months as they are frost tender and once the plant starts to die down the mature pumpkins can be harvested and stored in a dry airy place out of the sun. Leaving the pumpkins to finish maturing off the vine for a couple of weeks before harvesting the seed will give you a better seed harvest. 

The seeds are easy to harvest, simply cut the pumpkin in half and pull the seeds from the flesh. They should come away quite clean if you just pull on the seeds. These seeds then need to be dried; this can be done in the sun on a tray, a dehydrator or in the oven on the lowest setting. It should only take a couple hours depending on the temp, too high and you’ll get roasted pumpkin seeds, which are very tasty. Prior to drying seeds can be soaked to remove the excess tannins, phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which makes the nutrients more bio available, more info on that in our Walnut flour post. 

Once fully dry simply store in airtight container in a cool dark place or in the fridge if necessary. Grinding fresh and using within the week keeps your flour in top condition. 

While each pumpkin only yielded about 60g of dried seeds the fact that the flesh can also be used, even if it’s just for pig food, adds value to the crop. Unlike nuts which take many years to produce pumpkins supply the goods over just one summer, so a fast flour crop to establish. Nutrition wise pumpkin seeds have per 100g approximately, carbs 15g, protein 30g and healthy fat 49g. But they are also full of valuable nutrients like magnesium and zinc, so a great addition to your diet. 

Sunflower seed flour 

Sunflowers are the epitome of summer with their large bright flower heads that follow the path of the sun. But it seems that I just grow them for the sake of having them in the garden, as hulling the seeds is not a job I enjoy. Most often ours end up as chook fun, as we let them have the hulling job. This is the one flour that I have tried which, at this stage, I will just leave to the mass producers. It took me an hour of trying different hulling methods to get a very small amount of hulled seed and most of the seed was still in the shells… 

Considering I can buy sunflower seeds for under $9 per kilo it just doesn’t seem worth it to hull them for flour, for snacks yes, I’m fine with that, it’s part of the fun. But taking a couple of hours of fiddly work for just 1 cup of flour just doesn’t do it for me. 

Sunflowers sharing their brightness on a gloomy day.

However they are still a great alternative flour which you can grow at home! Not too mention the other great reasons to grow sunflowers, summer garden shade, bee food, bird food, stock fodder (our cow decapitated several which were too close to the fence). But even better, their deep roots open up and aerate the soil, then if left in place to die down, they feed and mulch the soil which also increases the soils water holding capacity. Be aware however that Sunflowers are considered to be allelopathic, which means they suppress the growth of other plants surrounding them. The petals were apparently used in ancient Iranian and Chinese medicine in the form of herbal teas to heal wounds, lower blood pressure, strengthen the stomach and bring on childbirth.

Nutritionally sunflower seeds have per 100g, approximately, carbs 23g, healthy fats 55g, protein 17g plus lots more valuable nutrients such as vitamin E and selenium. As above soaking prior to drying helps to make these the nutrients more bio available. Once fully dry, simply store in airtight container in a cool dark place or in the fridge if necessary. Grinding fresh and using within the week keeps your flour in top condition. 

Both pumpkin seed and sunflower seed flour can be used in most recipes which use seed or nut flour, but pumpkin seed tends to have a stronger flavour. We use them mainly in bread or cracker recipes.