Semolina flour is a light yellow flour made from semolina, a milled product of durum wheat that is commonly used in Italian cooking, most notably pasta dishes. Although semolina is very high in gluten, it contains many nutritional benefits and remains a popular alternative to white flour amongst health-minded individuals.
In the United States, semolina is widely grown in North Dakota and its flour is found in most health stores and organic markets across the nation. Once purchased, it should be stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator or an equally cool environment so that its natural oils and nutrients are preserved. In this state, the flour can remain usable for up to one year. If it turns rancid or funny-smelling, it should be thrown away regardless of the time in which it has been stored.
Health Benefits of Semolina Flour
- A high protein content. Protein is an essential constituent of living cells and serves as the ‘building blocks’ for our bodies. Aside from being an important provider of natural energy, protein creates antibodies, maintains the health of our metabolism, and deals with the repair and growth of muscles. Since semolina is suitable for vegetarians, it provides vegetarians with a good alternative source of protein.
- The flour has a low glycemic index, meaning that our bodies digest and absorb it at a slower rate in the intestines and stomach than normal flour, and therefore it does not cause blood sugar spikes. Consequently, semolina flour is suitable for diabetics and other people who need to monitor their glucose levels.
- The flour contains large amounts of dietary fiber. Fiber is an indigestible plant food that stimulates intestinal peristalsis in the body, which helps to prevent constipation. Also, fibrous foods help people to feel full for longer. This fact, coupled with semolina flour’s low cholesterol and fat levels, means that it is suitable food for people trying to lose weight.
- The plant pigments in the flour, such as beta-carotene, protect your immune system from disease, pollutants, and toxins.
- Finally, 100g of whole semolina flour contains the following additional minerals: 9% RDA in adults of iron, 13% RDA of magnesium, 19% RDA of phosphorus, 11% RDA of zinc, and varying quantities of the B vitamins, which play an important part in cell metabolism.
Semolina is a useful thickener of soups and cooking ingredient in carbohydrate-rich foods. Aside from pasta, for which semolina flour is best known, the flour is also used to make couscous, porridge, various breads, halva, tortillas, cakes, muffins, and noodles. In fact, semolina flour can substitute white flour in virtually all dishes containing the latter. One semolina-specific dish that deserves to be highlighted is semolina pudding, a dessert of northwestern European origin whereby semolina flour is boiled with milk and then sweetened, often with vanilla and jam.