If someone in your household is gluten-free, it makes planning your food storage needs a little more complicated—but it’s not impossible. What follows are a few tips to keep in mind and a couple of gluten-free baked good recipes to help you on your way.
What foods may contain gluten?
Wheat (including wheat berries or bulgur), rye, and barley all contain the protein gluten and cannot be eaten by those allergic to this protein composite found in certain grain species and many processed foods.
Many foods purchased in grocery stores (those processed foods), can contain gluten. The best thing to do is to check the label first. But, when it doubt, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the manufacturer and find out for sure. Usually the manufacturer’s phone number is listed somewhere on the label or on their website.
Such food products are: dried eggs, pie fillings, canned or dried fruits, gravies, rice with seasonings, cereals, cookies, crackers, stuffing mixes, hot chocolate or flavored coffee blends, spices, sauces such as pasta or barbecue sauce, salad dressings, pretzels, chips, candies, beer, and some other fermented alcohol drinks.
Obviously a way to avoid gluten in these foods would be to make your own recipes from scratch, which you probably already do for at least some of them.
Gluten-free grains and flours for long-term food storage:
Some sources suggest storing 300 pounds of wheat per person, per year.
So what can you replace all that wheat with for someone who is gluten free? Read on to find out what grains are great for gluten-free storage.
Quinoa and rice (both long-grain types such as basmati and short-grain types such as arborio) are great to store long term, and can be used instead of wheat sides, or instead of wheat ingredients. Wheat sides include pastas, couscous, breads, and more. Quinoa and rice can also be used in soups instead of gluten-containing barley or pasta.
Most oatmeal brands have cross contamination with wheat and so should be checked carefully. Find those brands without gluten to store, as oatmeal is a very healthy gluten-free carbohydrate with a long shelf life. Some estimates say that 50 lbs of oatmeal should be stored per person per year, and that is for those who eat wheat as well. Besides being a breakfast cereal, oatmeal can be ground and used as a thickening agent in soup, stews, and gravies rather than flour.
Instead of wheat- based pasta, try using rice noodles or buckwheat noodles (also called soba noodles), both of which store well. Buckwheat, though it has wheat in the name, is actually a gluten-free, wheat-free grain that has no relation to wheat at all. Whole buckwheat, or kasha, can also be boiled and eaten as a delicious breakfast dish with dried fruit and maple syrup or honey, or made into a whole grain salad with oil, vinegar, and herbs.
There are many alternative flours that can be stored for baking, such as:
- Masa de harina, i.e. corn flour, can work well for cornbread or tortillas
- Brown rice flour
- Sweet rice flour
- Almond flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Quinoa flour
- Coconut flour
Now we know that whole grains have a longer shelf life then ground flour. We also know that storing the grains in their whole form and then grinding with a flourmill when closer to use is really the best way to keep the grains from going rancid. Research and experiment with grinding these flours, and then store for long-term use.
For use in baking:
I suggest tinkering with the various flours to find a gluten-free solution that works for you. Further down is a basic flour mix to substitute for wheat-containing dry mix. Sweetener and oils, eggs, or fruit purees would be added for use in muffin mixes or pancake mixes.
Many gluten-free recipes can use additional gluten-free binders, thickeners, or ingredients for texture. Examples are xanthan gum, guar gum, dried eggs, corn starch, or tapioca starch. Check the labels of the starches to ensure that they are gluten-free and have not been packaged around gluten-containing goods.
Besides reconstituting dehydrated eggs (check to be sure the egg mix is gluten-free), applesauce or pureed fruit offer good egg substitutes to add moisture and sweetness to baked goods.
What follows are some recipes for gluten-free baked good mixes that can be made with food stores or with long-term food storage in mind. These mixes also make nice gluten-free gifts and allow for easier, faster cooking.
Here is a basic Flour Mix Recipe that can be premade and vacuum-sealed to use as a gluten-free base for various baked goods:
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour or millet flour
- 1/2 cup potato starch or other starch blend
- 1/6 to 1/4 cup almond meal or buckwheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Gluten-free, Egg-free Pancake Recipe
This pancake recipe can be stored as a mix without the water. Just make sure to label and attach the recipe to the bag, with a note to add the 2 cups of water to the dried mix. For a longer shelf life, this recipe can be prepared closer to consumption, grinding the rice and tapioca at that time.
- 1-1/4 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 5 cups rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- In a medium to large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients until well-combined.
- Whisk in the oil and water.
- Butter, oil, or spray nonstick pan or skillet, put over medium heat, and ladle in pancakes. Cook until bubbling and flip, or about 4 minutes on each side.
Consider plumping dehydrated fruit by covering with hot water, allowing it to soak for 20 minutes, and then adding the fattened fruit to the mixture. Other ideas: add chopped chocolate or chocolate chips or chopped walnuts.
What follows is a recipe for Hearty and Satisfying, Gluten-free Muffins that can have added chocolate, nuts, or plumped dried fruit:
- 1-1/4 cups buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1-1/3 cups fruit puree of choice, such as jarred applesauce or canned pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup canola, coconut, or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, or molasses (taste the batter before cooking and adjust to preferred sweetness)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips  (optional)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries or blueberries, plumped in hot water (optional)
- 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped fine (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Grease 9 muffin cups or line with papers. If using a silicon muffin cup, no greasing is required.
- Mix all of the dry ingredients with a whisk until completely combined.
- In another medium sized bowl, mix the fruit puree, oil, sweetener, and vanilla until well combined.
- Incorporate the dry mixture with the wet mixture, gently folding in just until incorporated. Do not over-mix the batter.
- Now, stir in whatever mix-ins you choose.
- Pour the batter into muffin cups. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The muffins should be golden on top. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, then your muffins are ready to enjoy!
If using dehydrated fruit, plump it in the hot water by covering the fruit with very hot water and allowing it to sit for 20 minutes. Remove the fruit and use in the mixture.