Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Although most people think of wheat when it comes to flour, you can make flour from many other plants. In fact, you can grind just about any starchy type of grain, bean, and nut — and even many vegetables —into flour.
Making flour at home is an easier process than you might think. In most cases, you only need a high-speed blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. And if you are in a survival situation, you can use a mortar and pestle and your own elbow grease.
We’ve put together a list of some of the ordinary plants you can make into flour. Many of these flours offer the advantage of being gluten-free. You can experiment with the ones you like best and consider growing those plants, so you’ll have a steady supply for your family.
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Best harvested in the fall, acorns can be ground into a flavorful and nutritious flour. The process involves soaking the acorns first to remove the bitterness of their tannins. Then, you’ll need to dry them again before grinding them.
Most almond tree varieties do well in North America’s Zones 5 to 9. Rich in protein and healthy fats, almonds can be made into a tasty and nutritious baking flour. In many recipes, you can substitute almond flour 1:1 for wheat flour in recipes.
A staple of the ancient Aztec and Inca diet, amaranth is high in protein and calcium and easy to make. However, you do need to remove any chaff (plant material & hulls) before grinding. Here’s a video demonstration of how to make amaranth flour.
This article offers tips for cooking and baking with amaranth flour.
Barley flour has a mild, nutty flavor and a high-fiber content. It contains gluten but is lower in carbohydrates than many other flours.
You can check out this video for a demonstration of how to make barley flour.
Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat. In fact, it’s a seed, not a grain. However, you can grind it into a useful and tasty flour.
Here’s a video that shows to make buckwheat flour at home.
During WWII, cattails were planted as an alternative to wheat flour, which was becoming scarce in supply. Although this initiative ended after the war, the large numbers of cattails you see across North America to this day are the result.
Here’s an interesting video demonstrating how to grind cattail roots (rhizomes) into flour. Note: Be careful that the cattails you harvest have not been sprayed with pesticides.
Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas are legumes that can be made into nutritious flour. You’ll need to dry the chickpeas first and then follow these directions to make the flour.
While some other regions of the U.S. have palm trees, the only coconut-producing palm trees are growing in South Florida. You can make flour by drying and grinding the white flesh of the coconut.
This article describes how to make coconut flour at home and offers a few recipes.
If you’ve ever eaten cornbread or corn tortillas, then you already know that corn makes a tasty flour. Here are the how-tos for making corn flour at home.
And here’s a video demonstration of the process.
10. Curly Dock
Curly dock is a perennial plant that grows in wet areas along roads and trails and in ditches, fields, and orchards. The plant’s roots, stems, and leaves are all edible. And its protein-rich seeds can be ground into flour.
Here’s one you not have considered — dandelion flour. Yes, you can grind the dried root of the dandelion to create a flour. You can also combine dandelion petals with another type of flour to create baked goods.
Check out this video for harvesting instructions.
14. Peas and Beans
If you waited too long to harvest your peas or beans, all is not lost. These legumes become starch when left on the vine and ready to be ground into flour.
A cousin of the previously-mentioned amaranth, quinoa can be ground into a high-protein flour. Read this article for instructions for making quinoa flour from the raw seeds. You can watch the simple process here.
Ryegrass, the cereal grain that is often planted as a cover crop in the U.S., contains long, narrow seeds that you can harvest in the fall. To collect the seeds (also called berries), you can shake or hit the plants with a stick over a basket. You’ll want to read this article for information on how to make rye flour.
You can store most homemade flours in an airtight container in a cool, dark location for up to three months. For more extended storage, keep the container in the freezer. Trust your senses when it comes to deciding if the flour has gone bad. If it looks or smells off, throw it away.
Keep in mind that fresh flour will taste (and bake) differently than the same store-bought kind. Try experimenting with different flours and see what types you like.
For an all-in-one resource for making flour at home, we like The Homemade Flour Cookbook by Erin Alderson.
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