Bird cherry flour: useful properties and contraindications
Surprisingly, bird cherry flour is a product little known in Russia, despite the ubiquitous distribution of bird cherry. This plant can be found almost all over our country in the temperate climate belt. Bird cherry has more than twenty edible species and grows in the form of both low shrubs and large trees.
- What cherry flour is made of
- Composition and calories
- Useful properties of bird cherry flour
- Bird cherry flour for weight loss
- Harm and Contraindications
- How to make bird cherry flour at home
- How to store bird cherry flour
- What can be made of bird cherry flour
- Bird cherry pancakes
- Bird cherry muffin
- Bird cherry bread
- Bird cherry kissel
For a long time cherry berries have been used for making pie fillings, preserves, compotes, kissels, liqueurs and kvasses. Berries, flowers, leaves and bark have long been used in folk medicine.
Today in stores you can find a lot of different kinds of flour: the traditional wheat and rye, oatmeal, buckwheat, pea, corn, sunflower and even exotic - almond, coconut and pumpkin. Almost any well-dried fruit can be used to make flour.
But bird cherry flour is one of a kind, and it is not easy to find in the stores. It is produced in small quantities, mostly by small private enterprises. Until recently, it was in demand mainly among connoisseur gourmets who preferred exotic flavors.
However, this type of flour is gradually gaining more and more fans. And everyone wants to know more about this delicacy. We will try to familiarize you in detail with this product, its application and properties.
What is cherry flour made of
To obtain bird cherry flour, dried berries were crushed together with the seeds, and then ground in mortars to obtain the powder. Modern technology makes it possible to no longer grind bird cherry in a mortar, but use, for example, a coffee grinder.
Bird cherry flour is similar in color and consistency to cacao powder. It is used mainly for making desserts and pastries, to which it gives a unique tangy flavor. The flour itself tastes a little tart, sweetish, with a subtle bitterness and aroma of bitter almonds.
While in the villages freshly ground cherry fruit used to be the traditional filling for pies, today cherry is increasingly being used in the form of flour to partially replace the usual cereal product in dishes.
Bird cherry flour is not a new invention at all. Since the development of the Urals and Siberia, peasants learned how to dry and grind these useful berries, using them to prepare various dishes. However, this was a labor-intensive task. Therefore, cherry flour was stocked in small quantities, only for home use, and almost never for sale.
Today, this product is still produced in small quantities for home consumption. People buy dried cherry berries in drugstores and grind them in coffee grinders. Someone prefers to harvest and dry the berries themselves, and then make flour out of them. It is quite rare to find this product on sale. It is much easier to buy it through online stores.
Composition and calories
Bird cherry flour has many useful properties. It is prepared from dried berries, the caloric value of which is slightly lower than that of fresh ones. 100 g of dried cherry fruit contains only 118 kcal. The nutritional value (per 100 g of product) is:
- carbohydrates - 11.42 g;
- proteins - 0.7 g;
- Fats - 0.28 g.
The product has a low glycemic index - only 20 units.
The composition of bird cherry flour includes an impressive set of useful trace elements:
Also dried ground bird cherry contains organic acids (citric and apple), tannins, essential and fatty oils, sugar, fiber, pectin, pigments, flavonoids and phytoncides. It contains vitamins A, C, E, K, PP and B vitamins: B1-B6, B9.
In the kernels of the fruit, as well as in all stone fruits, there is a small amount of amygdalin glycoside, which is broken down in the human body into hydrocyanic acid. This glycoside gives bird cherry flour almond flavor.
The product does not contain gluten (gluten), so it cannot completely replace wheat or rye flour in baking. However, by replacing some of the grain flour with bird cherry flour it is possible to give the culinary products a refined unique taste and at the same time enrich them with a valuable complex of microelements and vitamins. All the elements that make up the flour interact closely, enhancing the effect of each other.
Useful properties of bird cherry flour
Bird cherry is an invaluable source of beneficial substances for the human body. All of the substances included in the ground fruit retain their beneficial properties, since the product is completely natural.
This kind of flour not only has culinary value, but is also successfully used to maintain health. Not without reason, not only the fruit, but also the leaves and bark of bird cherry have long been used in folk medicine. Bird cherry flour can be attributed to the dietary products, since its constituent substances accelerate metabolism and have a positive effect on all body systems.
- The fruit has an anti-inflammatory effect. Therefore, a solution of bird cherry powder can be successfully used to treat inflammations and minor ulcers on the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract and genitals. It can also be used to disinfect small wounds and skin lesions. Rinsing the mouth with an infusion of bird cherry flour is effective for stomatitis. You can use it against acne and pimples on the face in the form of wipes.
- Due to the presence of phytoncides, bird cherry can be used for acute respiratory infections, tonsillitis, and even tuberculosis. An infusion of the powder can be used as a gargle to relieve pain and inflammation, as well as for ingestion.
- It also has a mild antipyretic effect, making it indispensable for fever. Vitamin C contributes to overall immunity.
- Tannins, which have astringent properties, protect against inflammation of the gastric mucosa. They, along with dietary fiber can treat intestinal disorders (diarrhea) and relieve associated pain. However, do not abuse large amounts of the product, as this can lead to constipation.
- Due to the large amount of fiber and pectin, the peristalsis of the digestive tract increases. Passing through the intestine, they act as sorbents, collecting and binding harmful substances and heavy metals. Therefore, a solution of bird cherry flour can be effectively used against nausea and vomiting, as well as an antidote for poisoning.
- The content of rutin and vitamin PP causes natural rejuvenation of the body and protects against the development of cancerous tumors. Manganese and cobalt are involved in hematopoiesis and red blood cell formation.
- Organic malic and citric acids act as antioxidants, binding free radicals in the body, are involved in metabolism and increase the absorption of iron.
- The use of bird cherry infusion is indicated in intoxication, as well as after chemotherapy. Bird cherry flour reduces intestinal absorption of cholesterol, promotes the breakdown of fats, increases the intensity of renal filtration and helps eliminate excess fluid, and has a diuretic and choleretic action.
- Since the product has a low glycemic index, it is recommended for people suffering from pancreatic diseases and diabetes. They can eat baked products with cherry flour without adding additional carbohydrate components (sugar, jam, jam). Daily consumption of this product in small quantities is also useful.
- Bird cherry is a good antispasmodic. Therefore, the powder of its fruits can be successfully used to relieve muscle spasms and allergic reactions. Flavonoids in its composition increase the elasticity of blood vessels, and anti-inflammatory components help treat inflammation and relieve joint pain.
Bird cherry flour for weight loss
In the business of slimness, bird cherry flour can provide an invaluable service.
As already mentioned above, it is a low-calorie product: 118 kcal per 100 grams. It contains no more than 5% of sugars.
For comparison: any flour made from cereal grains has a caloric value of over 300 kcal per 100 g.
By replacing some of the wheat or rye flour with bird cherry flour, it is possible to reduce the caloric content of dishes. Even dishes that are traditionally forbidden for weight loss: sweet pies, pancakes, pancakes - can be made dietary, replacing some of the cereal flour with bird cherry flour, and sugar - with sweet fruit. This is important for those who do not want to give up dessert while losing weight.
Low calorie dishes combined with a rich set of trace elements and vitamins will not only allow you not to gain new pounds, but also to start the process of fat burning by increasing metabolism. You can prepare from bird cherry flour infusions, kissels to strengthen the stomach and purify the intestines.
With regular use of the product metabolic processes are accelerated, the intestines are cleared of toxins and harmful bacteria, and there is no stagnation of bile and fluid in the body. In the composition of bird cherry flour dietary fiber and pectin contribute to the breakdown of fats, reducing the further possibility of their deposition.
The rich chemical composition of bird cherry flour allows you to saturate the tissues of the body with the necessary trace elements involved in metabolic processes. This is especially important during regular physical exercise, when it is necessary to eliminate accumulated lactic acid and protein breakdown products from the body. Increased metabolism promotes better assimilation of healthy food and fat burning.
Harms and contraindications
Despite such an impressive list of useful properties, bird cherry flour has contraindications. First, it can be an individual intolerance and allergy.
Secondly, bird cherry flour is not suitable for people who suffer from chronic constipation. The use of the product may cause them a deterioration and pain in the intestines.
You should not use bird cherry flour for gastritis and stomach ulcers. Organic acids in the product can cause increased acidity in the stomach and exacerbate the disease.
But even with a stable gastrointestinal tract, you should not overeat bird cherry flour. As mentioned above, the composition of the kernels of bird cherry fruit includes amygdalin, a substance, the decomposition of which produces poisonous hydrocyanic acid (or hydrogen cyanide). In small doses, this poison is not dangerous for humans, but if a large portion of bird cherry powder is eaten at once, you can get severe poisoning, since the kernels of the stones in the flour are in a powdered state and the glycoside will much easier enter into chemical reactions.
It is because of the content of amygdalin that the use of bird cherry flour is contraindicated during pregnancy. No matter how small the doses of hydrocyanic acid are, they can cause irreparable harm to the unborn child. Also, it is not recommended to use bird cherry flour for mothers while breastfeeding their babies and for children under two years of age. Although today there are no scientifically proven facts about the contraceptive properties of bird cherry, nevertheless, those who are planning to become pregnant should also refrain from eating its products.
Also amygdalin, despite the negligible doses, can harm the health of people with a weakened immune system. Such people need to consume the product with caution.
How to make bird cherry flour at home
To prepare bird cherry flour it is necessary to stock up on well-ripened fruits (berries). Mass ripening of bird cherries in the middle belt of Russia and Siberia is from the end of July to the end of August.
The best time to pick berries is in the morning or evening (not in hot weather) and in dry weather. Wet berries will quickly become covered with mold. The harvested berries should be processed no later than 3-4 hours after picking, since they quickly spoil and rot.
They should be picked together with the stalks, because ripe berries are very juicy and easily damaged, and then they become unsuitable for drying. Dry berries in bunches as well. This will allow, firstly, not to damage them, and secondly, to provide additional air permeability during drying.
The collected brushes should be placed in a single layer on a flat clean surface and dried in the sun. You can use an oven or a 45-50C oven for drying. In the oven you can keep the door ajar for better air exchange.
As the brush with berries dries you need to turn and stir them. The fruits can be gradually separated from the stalks and dried on their own. Fully dried fruits can be put in cloth bags or paper bags and stored in a cool, ventilated room for up to five years.
To obtain flour, dried berries must simply be crushed. You can do it with a mortar, a meat grinder or a coffee grinder. The variant with a mortar will be the most labor-intensive.
After sufficient grinding, the powder of dried berries should be sifted through a fine sieve to separate the coarse fraction and the husk of the fruit shells. The size of the ground fraction of bird cherry flour resembles semolina. The unsifted part of the flour can again be subjected to grinding and then passed through a sieve again.
How to store bird cherry flour
The resulting bird cherry flour should be stored in a cool, dry place. As a container is better to use glass jars with tight lids or sealed plastic bags.
Shelf life of such flour - no more than one year. After this period, the taste of the product decreases, it appears more bitter.
What can be cooked from bird cherry flour
Cherry flour gives dishes a special flavor and a slight tartness, for which it is highly valued by gourmets. This product is most often used in various kinds of baked goods. However, it cannot be used in its pure form for dough, because it lacks gluten. The dough from such flour will crumble in the hands.
But cherry flour is able to fully reveal its taste qualities in combination with other types of product, which have gluten. Bird cherry flour can be substituted for up to half of all traditional flour in baked goods. Its presence gives a rich chocolate-like color, a pleasant almond aroma, and a taste with a pleasant cherry bitterness to baked goods.
Bird cherry flour is mainly used for baking cakes, pies, muffins, pancakes, fritters, pies, cookies, and bread. It is also used to make kissel and brewed in the manner of coffee. In Buryatia, they add honey to such a drink, attributing to it the property of increasing male potency. Modern cooks are starting to use bird cherry flour more often in other dishes, for example, in sauces.
It should be said that bird cherry flour is not suitable for making tinctures and liqueurs, although fresh bird cherry berries are successfully used to make these drinks. The fact is that the fresh whole fruit contains the not unknown glycoside amygdalin, which is present in the closed kernel, and the penetration of this glycoside in the liquid is minimal. In the flour amygdalin is in its natural crushed form, and during a long period of infusion without heat treatment is able to disintegrate into a release of hydrocyanic acid. Therefore, it is better to use bird cherry flour in combination with heat treatment.
Below are a few uncomplicated recipes with bird cherry flour.
Bird cherry pancakes
- milk - 0,5 l;
- vegetable oil - 2 tablespoons;
- Wheat or rye flour - 150 gr;
- cherry flour - 60 grams;
- sugar - 1 tbsp;
- egg - 1 pc;
- salt - to taste;
- Soda - 1 tsp. (put out in 2 tbsp. of table vinegar).
- Mix one-third of the milk, egg, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, softened soda.
- Add wheat and bird cherry flour, knead a fairly steep homogeneous dough.
- While continuing to knead it, add remaining milk in portions. With this method of kneading the dough will not have lumps.
- Then the dough should be poured onto a hot frying pan and baked, as usual pancakes.
Bird cherry muffin
- cherry flour - 60 g;
- wheat or rye flour - 100 g;
- sugar - 120 gr;
- sour cream - 120 gr;
- eggs - 2 pcs;
- soda - 1/2 teaspoon (put out 1 tablespoon of vinegar);
- salt - 1/3 tsp.
- Mix all ingredients and fill muffin molds with dough.
- Bake in the oven at t=200C for 35-40 minutes.
Bird cherry bread
- warm water - 0,6 l;
- dry yeast - 6 g (or 30 g of fresh yeast);
- salt - 1 tsp;
- flour - 1 kg.
Attention! The recipe shows the total amount of flour in the recipe. Part of the flour (50-100 g) should be replaced by bird cherry.
- Mix warm water, yeast and salt.
- Gradually adding flour, knead the dough, so that it does not stick to your hands and the walls of the dishes.
- Then put it in a warm place.
- When the dough has risen, knead it and let it rise again.
- Then place the dough in greased baking pans or form oblong loaves and place them on greased baking trays.
- Bake for the first 10 minutes at 200C. Then lower the temperature to 180C and bake for another 40-50 minutes.
- For better baking of the bread, you can put a bowl of water on the bottom of the oven, so that it evaporates as the dough cooks.
- The finished bread should be taken out of the mold and covered with two or three thick napkins for 20-30 minutes for slow cooling.
Bird cherry kissel
- warm water - 1.5 liters;
- cherry flour - 0,5 cup;
- starch - 1,5 tbsp;
- sugar - 3 tbsp.
- Pour half a liter of boiling water into bird cherry flour and let stand for 10 minutes.
- In this time dilute the starch with a small amount of water.
- Then pour bird cherry infusion into the remaining boiling water with sugar and add the starch solution.
- Stir the kissel until it thickens, then take it off the fire.
We can see that bird cherry flour is experiencing a second birth. Culinarians finally appreciated this useful product and are finding it more and more widely used. We hope that soon it will become a welcome guest in your kitchen, too.
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