THERE’S NO GLUTEN IN PERU! I was thrilled to learn that breads, tortillas and baked goods are created from Cactus Flower Flour; not wheat flour. Warm bread with a lot of butter; here I come!
Excited to share with you that there are still areas in the world where clean eating exists! Those suffering from both gluten allergies and sensitivities will not have a problem indulging in all of the starches they love while traveling through Peru.
Cactus Flower Flour is actually made from the prickly pear cactus seeds, pictured to the left. In addition to the wonderful vegetable in the leaves, and delicious prickly pear fruits (also called Indian fig or Barbary fig, and known in Spanish as tuna, which are actually a very large berry), the prickly pear cactus is beneficial as food and has excellent nutritional properties.
The Natives of Peru reserve the seeds of the prickly pear fruit and allow them to dry thoroughly. They then crack them with a rolling pin and put them into a grinder until they are fine enough to use for normal baking. This flour is very high in protein and is ideal for not only baking and cooking but also as a binding agent for meats, sausage, cakes, soups, salad dressings. This flour an unconventional source of protein and is also an excellent source for fiber and many essential and non-essential amino acids.
While it is unlikely that the average homeowner in North America will harvest enough seeds to make a large quantity of flour; the good news is that it’s available on Amazon. Quick tips for use: because the flour has no gluten, in your recipes you can mix up to half prickly pear flour with regular flour for the total amount of flour you need. Use the prickly pear flour by itself for cooking where gluten development is not necessary, such as for battering food to fry, or for thickening soups, stews, sauces and gravies. You can also use it to make pasta, flatbread, and pancakes, or substitute for regular wheat flour in any recipes which do not need gluten.
With all our dietary special needs, you can rest assured, this tour will be filled with local, fresh ingredients, as we submerge ourselves into the local culture for the week.