Before we talk about black rice flour lets talk about the kernels it comes from. Black rice sometimes called Purple Rice is often labeled forbidden. Forbidden in the sense that it is reserved for the Chinese emperor to ensure a long life. Coming from the same plant family as Tai jasmine and Indonesian black rice with a similar nutty flavor profile and nutrient load. Black rice is the only rice with anthocyanins shown by the color. Also used as natural dyes these purple colored pigments have also shown to improve vision and mental health, act as an antioxidant and protects against several diseases, a similar action in other fruits and leafy vegetables with the same color. Protect your clothing from potential stains while cooking.
A study by Rarastoeti Pratiwi at Gadjah Mada University describes about 24-varieties of black rice grown in Indonesia and their potential for cancer prevention, lowering the risk of an excess of glucose in the bloodstream often associated with diabetes and lowering high concentrations of fats or lipids in the blood. Exceptional health benefits as well as the risks. Rice supplies for the king were grown in central Java and Gunung Raung and Gunung Ijen.
Rebirth Rice from Thailand sells a Heirloom, Jasmine, and starchy but gluten free black rice they call Glutinous Black Rice you can buy through Amazon.com. Simple to cook, and you can make rice flour with a blender, coffee grinder, or grain mill. In the United States Publix sells Natures Earthly Choice black rice. Kroger carries Village Harvest Black Rice from China. and from Alibaba of course. You can buy black rice flour from Italy, Australia, and importers in the United States.
It’s commonly accepted that when we eat the whole of most things there is more nutrition than if we just eat a part whether its fruit, vegetables or grains. The same is true for rice. When the complete kernel is used including the outside bran, germ, and endosperm it’s considered whole grain. Grinding the grain to flour of course makes it a whole grain flour capturing all the nutrients from the kernel making it a better nutritional choice over white rice flour.
Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, NARO discovered a method of stabilizing rice flour with a wet milling process. King Arthur’s brown rice flour is also stabilized with recipes online. Bob’s Red Mill sells a stone-ground brown rice flour and often includes a few recipes on their bag like Walrus bread or walnut spice cookies. Hodgson Mills and Arrowhead Mills among other also manufacture gluten free brown rice flour as well.
Like other flours without gluten, brown rice flour needs to be used in combination with other flours or starches. Common uses for this nutty flavored grain include bread, muffins, pancakes, and as a thickener for gravy and sauces. It’s also noted because of the manganese content to be great for your skin health as well. You can make your own brown rice flour using a Vita-Mix blender or a magic bullet. When stored in an airtight container brown rice flour will store indefinitely. Wendy Esko’s book The Big Beautiful Brown Rice Cookbook is a nice recipe guide to cooking with brown rice. The Easy Brown Rice Cookbook gives you fifty unique and easy brown rice recipes as well.
According to the USDA a cup of raw medium grain brown rice has over 14 grams of protein with 688 grams of energy, and over 6 grams of fiber. Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate DFE, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and a touch of Sodium also show on the nutritional chart.
Canyon’s Ancient Grains, 7-Grain, Country and Mountain White, Honey Oat, and Heritage Style Breads all include Brown Rice flour in their ingredients. Three Bakers also make a Whole Grain White Bread, 7-Ancient Grain, Rye Style, Great Seed, Max Omega, and Cinnamon Raisin breads all with brown rice flour. Ener-G’s Multi-grain breads use brown rice flour. Food for Life’s brown rice flour lineup includes, Brown Rice, Exotic Black Rice, Raisin Pecan, Rice Almond, Rice Millet, Rice Pecan, along with two yeast free brown rice breads Brown Rice, and Multi-Seed.
Sometimes confused with flour rice starch has been used for it’s soft mouth feel in baby food among other things. “A New rice starch extraction method for product savings [over the traditional high alkali processing method has been found] Food technologist marks breakthrough in rice starch procurement, replacing a 60-year-old method with a more ‘efficient and environmentally-friendly way’ to separate a rice kernel’s tightly-bound portions of starch and protein,” writes Lindsey Partos.
Dog food manufacturers like freshpet recognize the value of nutritional brown rice. Instinct makes a raw freeze-dried dog food with salmon and brown rice. Not all dogs, like the King Charles Cavalier in many cases will be able to handle the fat content in the salmon but the brown rice is a good combination. Dr. Cathy Alinovi has said “Studies have shown that brown rice contains “bound” antioxidants that are released by intestinal bacteria, as opposed to antioxidants in fruit which are considered “free” and quickly absorbed into the blood stream.” Brown Rice is occasionally good for your cat as well.
Not a cereal or grain though similar in size to wheat grains whole buckwheat is a wild rhubarb relative fruit placing it on the pseudo cereal list. Buckwheat or Fagopyrum esculentum is gluten free except in instances of cross-contamination. When planting
buckwheat seedlings appear within three to five days and it is ready for harvest in ten to twelve weeks according to Cornell University. Photo at right shows buckwheat in full flower.
After removing the fruits hull, the inside groats of buckwheat can be roasted to make kasha or ground to make buckwheat flour. Kasha describes a porridge made from any whole grain in most parts of the world.
So why all is buckwheat getting all this attention. Perhaps because it’s used globally as a staple and alternative flour in combination with other flours since it lacks gluten. It’s been grown over 4,000 years in India and Nepal and other parts of Asia. Perhaps you’re familiar with these buckwheat dishes:
Rich in protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin C, buckwheat has been placed in the super food category by some while others warn that buckwheat flour based noodles and pancakes have a higher glycemic load than the more healthy groats. Stone grinding the flour leaves the germ more intact than roller processes yielding a coarser texture with more flavor.
There are several places you can buy gluten free buckwheat flour. Bob’s Red Mill carries organic buckwheat flour, pancake mix, whole buckwheat groats, porridge or hot cereal, and whole grain kasha found at many grocers and amazon.com.King Arthur’s has gluten free buckwheat flour in 2-pound fresh-lock bags and recipes for buckwheat flour bread, blini, and Stromboli. You can also buy Hodgson Mills buckwheat flour ground from select groats with that nutty flavor made for generations from grocers, direct or at Amazon.com. The Arrowhead Mills brand may be available in your area. North Carolina’s High Mountain Farms also sells a organic stone milled buckwheat flour. As for organic sprouted buckwheat flour that can be found at Blue Mountain Organics, and Shiloh Farms.
Is arrowroot gluten free and is it flour or a starch?
We’re surrounded by attempts to create descriptive names for things, iPad, stapler, cell phone, bicycle, and envelope just to name a few. But how do you think the plant arrowroot got it’s name? Perhaps the legend that it was a South American Indian word for “root flour. ” Natives in West Indies used the root in a poultice to draw poison from wounds from poisoned arrow heads. It is also called Chinese potato, Yuquilla, Goo, Chok-Woo, Tacca and Pitisilen. Whatever it’s descriptive origin arrowroot continues to be used in many baking and cooking applications.
Arrowroot is often combined with other flours in place of wheat flour for baking. You can find arrowroot flour or starch in tea, soups, cookies, cakes, even hot sauces and jelly. Unlike other starches arrowroot used in gravies give a clear finish.
Arrowroot cookies doesn’t mean that they are inherently gluten free even though the flavorless flour itself is. Teething biscuits for babies often used Arrowroot Cookies because they are allergen free. Be sure to check the label, wheat is often used as well in these recipes. Probably stocked at your local grocery store, Mi-Del does make a gluten free animal cookie that includes rice, potato, and corn flours.
Yummly has numerous arrowroot cookie recipes including, chewy lemon and thyme, almond chocolate thumbprint, strawberry meringue, chewy chocolate chip and many more. Genius Kitchen uses some butter, white sugar, egg, vanilla, gluten free flour, arrowroot, banking powder and salt to make their arrowroot cookies in about twenty minutes from scratch. If you’re looking for a Paleo pie crust recipe consisting of coconut, almond, and arrowroot flours check out Lea Valle’s recipe. Perhaps it’s just those warm blueberry muffins using almond and arrowroot flours with fruit, eggs, and some all natural maple syrup like Mommypotamus makes. Even gluten free arrowroot bagels.
You can buy arrowroot flour at Bob’s Red Mill who includes a snicker doodle recipe on the back of their arrowroot bag. Kate’s Naturals arrowroot flour is available from allot of vendors.
If you live in a place where you can get arrowroot tubers you may want to make the flour or starch yourself but it’s allot of work. Esty has some beautiful tubers from Thiland shown in the banner. The original sources of arrowroot are being replaced by new varieties with higher starch content. You may be familiar with Florida arrowroot, or the traditional Maranta arundinacea. The British Empire imported arrowroot from St Vincent for years.
The application of arrowroot directly on painful gums or sore mouth has been a alternative remedy as well as stomach and intestinal issues including diarrhea according to WebMd. There is some scientific evidence that arrowroot may help get rid of cholesterol in the body.
Almost a forgotten crop the Amaranth plant was grown by the Mexican Aztecs as many as eight-thousand years ago and used to make tamales and tortillas. Today it is grown around the world including North and South America, Africa, China, India, and Russia. It is valued for it’s high protein and lysine and methionine amino acids. It is rich in micro and macro nutrients with medical and digestive benefits favored by the Celiac and Diabetic. John Cole from Rodale Institute has written a book called Amaranth: from the Past, for the Future, says “it is one of the plants that could solve world hunger.”
Amaranth is not a grain but its seeds are ground into a fine powder or flour. Very dense
Amaranth seeds (left), amaranth flour (right), above the final product, amaranth cookies. USDA Photo by Diejun Chen.
and heavy it is often used twenty-five to fifty-percent with other grains. Used for thickening soups, and sauces, it’s light and nutty flavor adds another flavor and texture profile. Commercially you can probably buy Amaranth flour at your local supermarket with brands like Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur’s. It’s very starchy when cooked.
It appears that today eating acorns is a trendy food source for not only squirrels, deer, chipmunks, wild turkeys, and other wild animals but for people too. Native Americans have used acorns as a food source for years. Although there are some varieties of the Oak Tree’s seed that contain marginal amounts of tannin you wouldn’t want to eat the acorns raw. You’ll want to remove the tannin by grinding the acorn and leaching out the tannin with multiple water rinses until it looses that bitter taste. It does not have gluten like wheat, rye and barley.
Bitter tasting tannin is the Oak tree’s way of protecting its seed and can cause “nausea, an irritated stomach, even a chance of throat and nose cancer” according to WebMD if eaten in large amounts. That said we find tannin in many foods including coffee, tea, bananas and herbal remedy’s.
Photo by Julia Kirschman, U.S. Forest Service
Where can we find Oak Trees and their acorns? The Oak tree or shrub belongs to the Beach tree family and is found in the northern hemisphere There are about six-hundred species including deciduous and evergreen varieties found in cool climates to tropical as far south as North Africa with North America having the most species. A large oak tree can produce 10,000 acorns in a productive or mast year. Sustainability seems to be the next question should humans choose to compete with wild life for this valuable food source.
If you don’t have access to acorns where you live you may be wondering where you can get some. You may want to get acquainted with someone like Acorno Acorns who sells handpicked from the ground acorns from Northern Vermont, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. They sell Northern Red Oak, White Oak Acorns, and Pin Oak Acorns by the pound, sun dried and pesticide free. You don’t have to eat them if you’re looking to used them in crafts and other displays.
Almond Flour and Almond Meal are both gluten free. Perhaps we need to know more about almonds to understand why this Mediterranean native and cousin of the Peach is so popular.
Sweet Almond production continues to increase in the United States, the world’s highest producer, with over 2.3 billion pounds forecast for the 2018 California crop. With more
Almond Board of California chart
than thirty varieties of almond trees about ten of them produce the majority of almonds in California. Sixty to seventy percent of the crop is exported the remainder is used in the United States. The journey of “Orchard to Table” has been nicely presented by the Almond Board of California. There are seven USDA Grades with California’s peak harvest in September. Almonds tree-ripen, and all almonds marketed in the United States are pasteurized because of the outbreak of Salmonella in 2001 and 2004. This includes both conventionally and organically grown nuts. Major almond producing countries in addition to the United States include Spain, Italy, Iran, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Australia, and Greece. The FDA reported that some bitter almonds were imported mixed in with sweet almonds causing some vertigo and cyanide poisoning concerns.
Almond flour and meal consist of 100% of nuts without gluten found in wheat, barley and rye, heavier than wheat flour and has more calories and fat. Unblanched retains the brown skin. Flour is finer than meal. Making it at home is simple and less expensive if you have a food processor. Simply add about a quarter cup at a time and pulse, work it through a fine sieve to make it finer in texture. If you are looking for inspiration Blue Diamond has put together a Almond Cookbook with over fifty-recipes breakfast to desert. Elana Amsterdam has a gluten free almond focused cookbook as well. One of my favorite places to use almond flour is to dust a pie pan when making quiche instead of using a gluten free crust. Almond flour can be used as a thickener for soups and like breadcrumbs on casseroles, vegetables, and meats.
There is some controversy surrounding allergy issues and digestion issues with PUFAS or polyunsaturated fatty acids when using allot of nuts and nut milk. You may want to try some to see if gas, bloating or other symptoms occur. Using almond flour and meal as a part of your meal planning can add some valuable health benefits.
banner photo shows Geneticist Craig Ledbetter examining the nuts of a self-pollinating almond selection in a California test plot. Photo by Peggy Greb. USDA Photo
There are a number of gluten free flours to consider if you are trying to be wheat free, or choose another flavor profile alphabetically listed. Drill down or click on flour of interest for more complete descriptions.
Almond flour: and meal consist of 100% of nuts without gluten found in wheat, barley and rye, heavier than wheat flour and has more calories and fat. Nut allergy caution. More information here. (Do it Yourself)
Acorn flour: Easy to make yourself. Peel the shells. Rinse away the tannic acid. Puree in a food processor. Rinse the meal using a cheesecloth until it tastes like almond flour. You can also buy it ready made. (Do it Yourself)
Amaranth flour. A nutritious ancient grain that includes the lysine protien and other minerals. You may have to do 50/50 or 25/75 ratios for best wheat substitution results. It can be purchased ready-made. (Do it Yourself)
Chickpea flour: Higher protein than wheat flour and a great binder. Also know as Garbanzo bean flour, Besan flour, or Gram flour. Make it yourself easily or purchase ready made. (Do it Yourself)
Coconut flour: Highly absorbent nut flour with reduced volumes compared to wheat flours. High in fats, protein, and fiber. Safe for diabetics. Nut allergy caution. Purchase ready-made. (Do it Yourself)
Corn flour: Whole grain flour with high absorption rate and ground finer than corn meal. Not corn starch which is made from the endosperm. Can be hard to digest for some. Purchase ready-made. (Do it Yourself)
The question, is oats gluten free or not may come from the thought that it’s considered a cereal grain. The most recognized grains with gluten would be wheat varieties, along with rye, barley, and triticale. The difficulty in confirming oats as gluten free is a transportation and processing issue. There is a reaction to oats in less than one percent of Celiacs to avenin proteins. Let’s think a moment about the journey of oats to our tables.
Certified seed oats are most often planted today. Years ago, many farmers saved some oats from the previous crop to plant in the new year. Germination rates were often too low prompting them to buy certified seeds with growing characteristics for their area and growing season. Many of the Agricultural Colleges as well as commercial seed
-Photo Credits – Mark Casada-USDA ARS
producers have test plots and staff focused on seed production. Once the seed is purchased it’s delivered to the commercial farmer who then plants it and waits for the harvest. Neil Bromhall shows the germination cycle for oats and the Eat Happy Project does a nice video showing farm to fork for porridge in the United Kingdom.
USDA Jesse Gastelle, Agricultural Marketing Service February 2018
Here is where it gets difficult to manage for most. It’s not difficult to clean a combine to get ready to harvest oats but it takes a great amount of care to keep it completely separate from other crops as it’s poured into trucks, unloaded at a storage facility, sold to a mill to make into instant, steel-cut, rolled oats or oat flour.. General Mills for example has created a process that separates the grains and mills the oats into a flour to create Cheerios. Steel cut McCann’s Irish Oats is gluten-free and has their familiar nutty flavor.
The story about Quaker Oats reflects the savvy use of media to position themselves in the marketplace where they hold the top four positions in popularity for hot cereal. Even babies as early as six-months can enjoy rolled oatmeal. With National Oatmeal Day just around the corner you may be wondering how to celebrate. I would think enjoying a bowl of oatmeal and shouting out #NationalOatmealDay on your social media sites would be a good way to start. Then enjoy the benefits as it helps to lower your cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer, being rich in iron and fiber. The Donnelly family in Ireland who holds the
The Murtillo Mazzo (Italian for the “Blueberry Bunch”) won second place in Michigan Department of Education’s 2015 Junior Chef Breakfast Competition (Oatmeal Squares)
oldest family Guinness World Record attributes eating oatmeal in the morning and before bed as the reason for their longevity. Originally laughed at and compared to eating horse feed the soluble and insoluble fibers are part of what Dr Michael Greger who wrote How Not to Die claims could solve a nations health problem.
Physicians, Nutritionists, and of course health conscious Moms have all recognized the value of teaching the value of eating oats.
Did you eat your gluten free oatmeal or porridge today?
For some of us remembering the aroma and flavor of Mom or Grandma’s buttery cornbread hot off the stove or fresh out of the oven brings back memories of a simple life and less stressful days. With so few of us experiencing life on the farm or having a garden where we’ve grown fresh sweet corn, perhaps instead we’ve gone to a local farmers market or roadside vegetable stand searching for that amazing bursting-with-flavor just-picked corn for corn-on-the-cob and hopefully fresh corn bread too.
Just like pizza, areas of the country are used to and expect a different experience when talking about corn bread. Perhaps in Pennsylvania you’re looking for a sweet smooth corn muffin texture, with communities in the south demanding a more thin and crunchy biscuit.
For openers let’s consider cornbread that actually uses fresh corn in the recipe. I love the
Photo by Preston Keres
fact that corn starch can be a cornerstone ingredient for this delightful bread. You just might want to dust off that cast iron skillet for this recipe. If you’re using King Arthur’s measure-for-measure gluten free flour you may want to try Taste of the South’s fresh-corn recipe using a cup-and-a-half of corn kernels. The puréed fresh corn adds a flush of sweet flavor. Bon Appetite skips the buttermilk and uses sour cream in their fresh corn cornbread muffins. America’s Test Kitchen uses fresh corn to make a “corn butter” in their approach. Remember you’ll need to use a measure-for-measure flour substitute in these recipes.
Land O’Lakes has a recipe that includes their own blend of gluten free flour, sour cream and yellow cornmeal along with other ingredients. Betty Crocker also has their own gluten free flour blend that includes ghee butter.
Box mixes for gluten free corn bread are available as well. King Arthur has a box cornbread that is moist, not gritty and doesn’t fall apart available at your grocer and online. Bob’s Red Mill has a gluten free cornbread mix also available at most grocers and online in bags up to twenty pounds. Krusteaz uses white and yellow ground corn meal as well as sorghum and whole grain millet flour. I’m not sure what the modified food starch is but it is also available in stores and online.
If you’re looking to dive into over 200 mouthwatering recipes using corn meal for bread, Jonnycakes, fritters, hushpuppies, souffles and more Crescent Dragonwagon has written The Cornmeal Gospels, a comprehensive guide that you’ll thoroughly enjoy working through in your kitchen. Or you could watch Barbara Jean Bennett make Southern Style Hot Water Cornbread using white self-rising corn meal.