If you follow a gluten-free diet, then you're probably used to looking for food products that don't contain gluten. You may learn along the way that corn is a grain that doesn't contain gluten. So, seeing a product called "gluten-free cornmeal" on the shelf might be a little confusing at first. Isn't all cornmeal gluten-free? Well ― yes and no. Here's a closer look at what's in that gluten-free cornmeal bag and how to use it.
What is "gluten-free" cornmeal?
Corn, including the harder corn used to make cornmeal, does not naturally contain any gluten. However, a lot of the mill facilities that make cornmeal also process other grains, including wheat. Since wheat contains gluten, corn that is processed in these facilities can contain some gluten that it picks up on the grinding wheels and belts in the mill. So, if a brand of cornmeal is not labeled "gluten-free," that cornmeal might contain traces of gluten. It may be safe for people who simply prefer not to eat gluten, but it's not safe for anyone with true gluten intolerance. Even those small traces of gluten could cause a reaction.
Cornmeal that is specifically labeled "gluten free" is ground in a facility that does not process any wheat or other grains that contain gluten. So, the corn cannot come into contact with any gluten-containing products and is guaranteed to be free of even the smallest traces of gluten.
How do you use gluten-free cornmeal?
Gluten-free cornmeal can be a great buy for someone who is gluten intolerant. It has that slightly sweet, nutty flavor that you might miss since you can't eat wheat products. Here are some ways to use your gluten-free cornmeal.
1. Make polenta: Polenta, sometimes known as cornmeal porridge, is a mixture of cornmeal and milk (sometimes water.) It's a great breakfast, especially when topped with a little butter and brown sugar.
2. Make muffins: There are plenty of cornmeal muffin recipes out there. Many call for all-purpose flour, which you can't have on a gluten-free diet, but you can easily substitute your favorite gluten-free oat flour.
3. Make pancakes: Cornmeal pancakes, made with half gluten-free cornmeal and half oat flour, are a delicious choice when topped with maple syrup or powdered sugar.
Gluten-free cornmeal is a good buy for anyone looking for gluten-free grain products to enjoy. Use the ideas above as inspiration, and enjoy experimenting with this tasty, new grain product. Contact a company that sells gluten-free stone ground cornmeal to learn more.