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Gluten Free – Locally Grown and Produced

Many people are striving to purchase and use locally grown and/or produced items for many reasons including personal preference, community support, better health, economical factors, etc.  I am one of those people that do my best to purchase local items, especially gluten free, as I keep a close eye on my family’s health and nutritional values.

With summer’s arrival the picnics will be in full swing, be sure to enjoy local fruits, veggies and meats.  The best thing about these items is that they are all naturally, gluten free!  Challenge yourself to see how many farms, orchards, greenhouses, local gardens you see as you are out and about, better yet, challenge yourself not to crave the fresh, crisp flavors of fresh, locally grown foods. Do you shop where you can purchase local, have you visited your local co-op? This is your health, what’s it worth to you?

Why can’t I find local gluten free flours and grains?  This is a question asked by many – the answer is because there is not a local facility that is designated gluten free and certified as such. The expense and certification are often too much for a local, small company to bear.  In order for local grain to be gluten free it needs to be planted in a dedicated location, harvested with dedicated equipment and processed in a dedicated facility  - all must be gluten free environments.  Cross contamination is a huge factor in a gluten free diet, any gluten ingested causes intestinal damage, in most people much pain and a slew of other unmentionable complications. 

Why are gluten free foods so expensive?  This is another question, often asked in exasperation. Many gluten free products are more expensive than your everyday items.  This is not simply because they’ve put the words “gluten free” on their packaging, in most cases.  The processing to complete gluten free products can be much more time consuming, the ingredients used are more expensive to purchase and the certifications and inspections required of the companies producing these products need to be recouped in some way. As companies pay for their gluten free certifications and inspections they are committing themselves to a higher standard for you, which shows their credibility, recognition of Celiac and gluten free diets as well as support for all of us required to eat gluten free. These certifications normally come with yearly inspections as well multiple un-announced inspections throughout the year.

Visit your local stores, farmers markets and co-op for locally produced products (baking mixes and finished products) as well as the fresh grown produce and meats.  Check with your local Celiac Information Group, at Dunlap Community Hospital, for additional information and tips including local dining options that serve gluten free!

Is there an item you’d like to cook or bake gluten free? Is there a recipe you’ve been hungry for and aren’t sure how to do it?  Do you have questions about gluten free living or Celiac Disease?  Together there is strength, together there is knowledge and awareness – Celiac Disease shouldn’t be a struggle and together we can make it easier for you, a friend or family member!

Happy & Safe Eating!

GLUTEN FREE FLOURS

Cooking gluten free can be a challenge, especially if you’re new to the task.  There are many gluten free flours available, all with different tastes, textures as well as nutritional values. Each one will give a different outcome to your recipe(s).  By utilizing a mix of specific flours you’ll be cooking/baking like a pro and your family/friends won’t be able to tell it’s gluten free.  As a reminder, always read the labels of your gluten free flour to ensure they’re coming from a dedicated, gluten free facility.

 Properties, Characteristics and uses of Gluten Free Flours. 

1.     Amaranth Flour

     a.      High fiber and protein content.

     b.     Adds slightly sweet flavor to recipes.

     c.     Adds moisture to recipes.

     d.    Has a bold flavor, use sparingly.

2.     Arrowroot Flour

     a.      Can be used in place of cornstarch as a thickener.

     b.     High in fiber content, easily digestible.

3.     Bean Flour

     a.      Mixes well with rice flours for baking. (keep mix refrigerated)

     b.     Stores well alone in cupboard.

     c.      May have strong or bitter flavor.

     d.     Too much may give a metallic flavor and cause gas.

     e.      High Protein content.

4.     Buckwheat

     a.      An Herb plant related to rhubarb.

     b.     Triangular shaped seed with black shell.

     c.      Whole, cracked or ground into flour.

     d.     Unique strong flavor.

     e.      Absorbs oil, additional liquid may be required in recipes.

5.     Coconut Flour

     a.      Finely ground coconut meat with most of the fat/moisture removed.

     b.     High fiber and protein content.

     c.      Mild coconut flavor, slightly sweet.

     d.     Can be used alone or mixes well with other Gluten Free flours for baking.

     e.      Absorbs liquids, more may be required in recipes.

6.     Corn Flour

     a.      Regular, medium or finely ground. Finely ground is best if baking.

     b.     Adds slightly sweet flavor to recipes.

     c.      White, yellow or blue varieties.

     d.     Used for corn bread and muffins.

7.     Cornmeal

     a.      Coarse ground corn flour.

     b.     White, yellow or blue varieties.

     c.      Not a substitute for corn flour or cornstarch.

     d.     Mixes well with other Gluten Free flours for baking.

     e.      Use to “dust” pans for items such as pizza.

8.     Cornstarch

     a.      Use as thickening product, mix with water prior to adding to heated liquid(s).

     b.     Mixes well with other Gluten Free flours for baking.

9.      Millett

     a.      Drought tolerant grass with small seed.

     b.     Good substitution for sorghum flour.

     c.      Adds texture to recipes.

     d.     Has a butter sweet flavor.

     e.      Easily digestible and is the least allergic choice of alternate flours.

10. Nut Flours

     a.      Used in small quantities.

     b.     High in protein.

     c.      Low in carbohydrates.

     d.     Generally add moisture and flavor to recipes.

     e.      May cook faster leaving a doughy inside and overcooked exterior, use a slightly lower

               temperature for a few minutes longer.

11. Potato Flour

     a.      Heavier than potato starch flour, has potato flavor.

     b.     Velvety texture.

     c.      Do not used as a main flour in recipes.

             It will absorb too much liquid and can create a gummy texture.

     d.     Used in small amounts to increase moisture and hold the product together.

12.   Potato Starch, Potato Starch Flour

     a.      Finer than potato flour, has bland flavor.

     b.     From uncooked potatoes where all fibers have been removed.

             Dehydrated until only the starch remains.

     c.      Mixes well with other Gluten Free flours for baking. 

     d.     Good for use in high temperature recipes.

     e.      Adds chewy-ness and moisture to baked goods.

     f.       Can be used in place of cornstarch or arrowroot as thickener.

13.  Quinoa

     a.      Ancient grain of Peru .

     b.     Closely related to Amaranth.

     c.      Used whole, flakes or ground into flour.

     d.     Mild nutty flavor, can be bitter if used alone.

     e.      Can be substituted for any cereal grain.

     f.       Adds moisture to baked goods.

     g.     Flakes normally work better than flour in baking.

14.  Brown Rice Flour

     a.      Comes from unpolished rice, only the hull has been removed.

     b.     Contains bran thus has higher B vitamin content, iron and fiber.

     c.      Keep refrigerated or in freezer.

     d.     Good for breads and cookies.

     e.      Good base for flour mixes.

     f.       Has a slightly nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture.

     G.     Will make a “heavier” final product if used alone.

15. Sweet Rice Flour

     a.      Can be used in place of cornstarch or arrowroot as thickener.

     b.     Better option for thickener if you’ll be freezing the product.

16. White Rice Flour

     a.      Good base for flour mixes.

     b.     Bland, mild flavor, won’t change taste of recipe.

     c.      Gives option of regular, medium or fine ground.

     d.      Will make a “heavier” final product if used alone.

17. Sorghum

     a.      AKA milo.

     b.     Certified food grade sorghum has been specially developed for the food industry.

     c.      Made from Sorghum Berries.

     d.     Ground to flour or sweet syrup.

     e.      Adds ‘airyness’ and texture to recipes.

     f.       Good for portion of flour in bread recipes, even up to half the amount.

18. Soy Flour

     a.      High Protein and low Carbohydrate values.

     b.     Available in full fat, low fat and defatted versions.

     c.      Keep refrigerated or in freezer.

     d.     Has a strong, distinct flavor, some say nutty flavor.

     e.      Mixes well with other Gluten Free flours for baking.

     f.       Browns easily.

     g.     Note: Soy is one of the eight major allergens.

             It must be labeled on products for sale by law of FDA.

19.  Tapioca Flour

     a.      AKA tapioca starch, cassava flour, cassava starch, manioc starch

     b.      Mixes well with other Gluten Free flours for baking.

     c.     Browns easily, promotes crisp texture

     d.      Can be used in place of cornstarch or arrowroot as thickener.

20. Teff

     a.      Small ancient grain of the Millett family.

             It’s too small to remove husk and bran.

             The nutrients are not lost during processing.

     b.     Natural brown has a stronger, unique flavor.

     c.      Ivory has a mild, slightly nutty flavor.

     d.     High calcium content.

     e.      Can be used as portion of flour in bread recipes for texture.

21. Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum

     a.      Binders for GF Baking – Act as the “gluten” for cakes, cookies and breads.

     b.     Use approx. 1 tsp. in recipes of cakes and cookies and 2 tsp. in recipes for breads.

 

What is it you’d like to cook or bake? Is there a recipe you’ve been hungry for and aren’t sure how to do it, contact me.  Do you have questions about gluten free living or Celiac Disease, contact me. Together there is strength, together there is knowledge and awareness – Celiac Disease shouldn’t be a struggle and together we can make it easier for you, a friend or family member!

Happy & Safe Eating

 

 

 GLUTEN FREE FLOUR MIXES

 Do you want a base Gluten Free flour mix that you can use just like ‘regular’ flour?  If you prefer to do it yourself instead of purchasing a pre-packaged mix here are some recipes to do it.  These mixes have been passed on through many Celiac Support Groups and conferences throughout the years.

 

Lynn’s First Mix

3 C. Rice Flour

1 C. Potato Starch

1 C. Sorghum Flour

1/2 C. Amaranth Flour

1/2 C. Brown Rice Flour

2 1/2 Tbsp. Xanthan Gum

 

GF  Flour Mix 1                                                           

6 C. Rice Flour

2 C. Potato Starch

1 C. Tapioca Starch

 

Four Flour Bean Mix                                               

1 C. Garfava Bean Flour

1 C. Sorghum Flour

3 C. Cornstarch

3 C. Tapioca Flour

 

Sorghum Flour Mix                                            

1 ½ C. Sorghum Flour

1 ½ C. Potato Starch or Cornstarch                                   

1 C. Tapioca Flour

½ C. Corn, Almond or Bean Flour

 

Light Bean Flour

3 C. Garfava Bean Flour

3 C. Tapioca Flour

3 C. Cornstarch/Arrowroot

 

Featherlight Rice Flour Mix

3 c. Rice Flour

3 c. Tapioca Flour

3 c. Cornstarch

3 T. Potato Flour

 

GF Flour Mix  2

2 1/2 C. Rice Flour

1 C. Potato Starch Flour

1 C. Tapioca Starch

1/4 C. Bean Flour

1/4 C. Cornstarch/Arrowroot

2 1/2 Tbsp. Xanthan Gum

 

Happy & Safe Eating