Is Buckwheat Flour Gluten Free

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, Buckwheat the Ultimate Guideblini, 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.Cooking with Buckwheat Flour

For buckwheat flour based recipes Dr. Jonathan Doue has written Buckwheat: The Ultimate Recipe Guide, and Jeen van der Meer has a cookbook called Cooking with Buckwheat Flour that may be helpful for adding this flavor profile into your diet. Perhaps you’d rather make your own buckwheat flour at home with a simple food processor or grain mill.

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Is Rice Gluten-Free

Over half of the world’s population eats rice with almost 90 percent being grown by Asian farmers. It is one of the popular gluten-free grains for people with celiac disease. Sticky rice, also called glutinous rice, refers to the rice’s stickiness not it’s gluten content. No matter if we’re talking about brown rice, white rice, or wild rice they are all gluten-free. Although wild rice is not really rice it’s a North American plant that is similar and higher in nutritional value.

Opportunities for gluten to be added or cross contaminated to the rice would occur with harvesting and transportation, added seasonings, other ingredients, and bulk bin containers. Often confused rice pilaf is usually made with orzo which is not gluten free. Neither are Rice A Roni products gluten-free. Several rice companies have stepped up to the plate to produce some gluten-free box mixes like McCormick’s Zatarain’s, Minute Rice,  and Uncle Ben’s responded to an inquiry concerning 9 of their product mixes. There are numerous manufacturers that are producing rice pastas as well. Allrecipies recently picked their Top-10 Winners.IMG_6458[1]

Varieties of rice from different places in the world have trace amounts of arsenic. It’s important to include other sources of carbohydrates like beans, lentils, amaranth, buckwheat, corn, quinoa, potatoes, popcorn, millet, sorghum, teff and gluten-free oats in your diet as well.

If you experience boating or other celiac symptoms after eating you may want to ask your doctor for advice or gluten antibody testing.