Using Leftover Nut Pulp + Homemade Flour

There’s a running joke in the family that I would’ve made an excellent Depression era wife, which I try to see in the best possible light…

Maximizing ingredients and minimizing what’s tossed out is serious business in our kitchen, and my reasons for frugality are many. To name a few: it’s a money-saver, it’s good for our mouths and stomachs, and it’s friendly to the environment and food system as a whole.

Waste not, want not. 

Last week I posted about home-making almond milk. (Did you try it?) Today I want to talk more about the leftover pulp — something you’ll end up with a lot of if you begin to regularly make non-dairy milks from nuts or seeds as we do. High in protein and fiber, low in carbohydrates, and a good source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, the pulp is also subtly sweet with a hint of flavor that makes it a delicious addition to any recipe. It’d be a shame to let this go to waste.

nut flour So what can I do with that leftover pulp? 

After you’ve squeezed out the last of the milk from your pulp, it can be refrigerated as-is in a tightly-sealing container for up to 5 days. If you know it won’t be used that quickly, it freezes well, too.

There are now two* simple ways to use these nutritious leftovers:

1. Requiring no extra steps or time, you can add the wet pulp into porridge, granola prior to baking, baked items like Elana’s crispy and delicious GF flax crackers, or into smoothies for a boost of protein, healthy fat and satiating fiber. Use it to thicken soups, stews or curries, or try stirring a spoon or two into pasta sauce to impart a faint hint of flavor, creamy texture, and healthy nutrients! This recipe for raw nut pulp hummus on Sarah Britton’s gorgeous blog My New Roots is on my short list.

2. With 2 to 3 hours (mostly hands-off) of free time, you can dry the pulp in the oven and run it through a spice grinder to make nutritious, flavorful flour for crackers, cookies, cakes, tea breads, pancakes and waffles. Gluten- and grain-free, this fresh flour can be a delicious substitution for both wheat and non-wheat flours in baking and cooking.

*You could also add the pulp to your compost for a healthy garden boost.

Nine times out of ten the fate of our pulp is flour. In fact, it’s become a weekend routine: Soak the nuts or seeds Friday night, whizz up the milk Saturday morning, and then pop the pulp into the oven to dehydrate. If we have errands to run, I’ll stick the pan into the refrigerator for drying and processing after we return. Nothing complicated about that!

nut flours: (clockwise from top L) pecan, peanut, pepita, almond

[Clockwise from top left: pecan, peanut, pepita, and almond flours]

Thoughts on using your homemade nut and seed flours

If you’re following a gluten-free (GF) diet, or just like to mix up your recipe ingredients, you’re probably well aware of the high price tag on nut and seed flours. This homemade version is an extremely affordable alternative, making it much more appealing to those of us not willing to spend $11 per pound or more. I use it with great success as an equal substitute for baking recipes that call for other nut or seed flours/meals.

If you’re new to this type of baking, my best advice is to follow your instinct, and don’t be afraid to play around with swapping different nut and seed flours! Over time you’ll develop a feel for how they behave, and will know if and when to adjust the moisture levels, add more fat, how to adjust the oven temperature and baking times, etc.

I will say that substituting these flours in recipes that call for wheat flours — and to a lesser extent, other non-nut- or seed-based GF flours — requires more fine-tuning and experience. I can usually get away with replacing my homemade flour for up to 1/2 of these other flours in baking, but it’s ultimately best in this case to find a recipe that caters specifically to what types of flour you’re working with.

There you have it. Four fuss-free steps to fresh homemade flour with one ingredient that otherwise could have gone in the trash. A triumph for the frugality files!

Cheers, Heather

Tell me… Do you have any other ideas or recipes for using the pulp? I’d love a few more ideas for my recipe arsenal!

Leftover Nut or Seed Pulp Flour
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
The amount of nut pulp this recipe calls for should be nearly exact to what will be leftover from making my Cinnamon Almond Milk. If you doubled the milk recipe, all you need to do differently is use a larger pan.
Author:
Recipe Type: Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan
Makes: 1 1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup nut or seed pulp, loosely packed
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to its lowest temperature (ours goes to 170° F), and set a rack in the middle.
  2. After squeezing out as much of the liquid as you possibly can in the last steps of your homemade nut/seed milk prep, dump the pulp onto an unlined baking tray, and spread into an even, thin layer with a rubber scraper.
  3. Place the pulp in the oven and prop the door open to release the moisture and speed along the drying process (I use the end of a wooden spoon for this). Bake until the pulp is completely dry, checking in and stirring it around every 30 minutes or so. At 170° F, this process typically takes between 2 and 3 hours.
  4. Using a spice grinder, food processor or blender, process the dried pulp into a fine powder. Transfer your flour to a tightly sealing container, and store in the fridge or the freezer to prevent them from turning rancid.
HGN Notes
Total baking time will vary depending on how much liquid was squeezed out initially, and on the temperature of your oven. Our oven's low is 170° F. Yours may go lower, which is great, but keep in mind the drying process will take longer. I definitely wouldn't go much higher than 170° F, as the goal is not to color or toast the pulp; only to remove the moisture.

You can refrigerate the flour 1 to 2 months, or freeze it for 6 to 8 months. If frozen, remove the amount needed for your recipe and let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes prior to using.

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5 comments

  1. Charzie says:

    Ha ha, you can tell I’m new here with all the comments, but I love what I see! One of my biggest gripes is how wasteful we’ve become as a society! I am 62 so I’ve witnessed first hand the evolution from darning socks with holes, to buying new ones but using the old to dust or something with, to just tossing them like everything else! Repurposing is a buzzword I am happy to hear because it just makes sense in so many ways! Being on a fixed income drives it home even more, but it was kind of driven into me early on…think of a way to use something before you even think of trashing it, especially food items! Even those week old wilted veggies can be soup. If it’s not slimy and not brown, wash and use it! LOL! It may not be as desirable, but still usable! And the really ugly stuff, compost it! Grow your own food, even in pots, and make your own rich soil! You’ll be amazed how awesome it tastes compared to the big box stuff shipped halfway around the world over weeks, and it is so much better for you too! We have to get back to being more self sufficient, caring about our actions and to stop wasting what can still be used. Thanks for the reminders!

    • Heather Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN says:

      Amen to everything you’ve written! The garden is freshly planted here (same for you?), and I can’t wait for all the glorious produce it will provide — be it for snacking and cooking on the “meaty” portion, for building pestos and sauces from the leafy portions, or for creating the richest, most flavorful stocks with the scraps. Compost, too! You’re a woman I can truly relate to. Cheers!

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