So what about gluten?

Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue“) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten)

Buddhist monks discovered gluten in the 7th century. The monks, who were vegetarians, were trying to find a substitute for meat. They discovered that when they submerged dough in water, the starch washed off and all that was left was a meat-like, textured, gummy mass – gluten” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten).

More recently, Canadian researchers have worked to increase the level of gluten in bread wheat varieties to improve baking qualities and increase protein.  Although people sometimes refer to GMO wheat, wheat breeding in Canada has been almost exclusively through natural breeding techniques and there is no GMO wheat in the Canadian food system.

According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease.  People with Celiac Disease should avoid gluten.  Our recipe selection for this week contains gluten, but in the future we will also post recipes that are gluten-free for those of you who are gluten intolerant.

This great muffin recipe is full of fabulous prairie grains, vegetable, fruit, canola, milk, and an egg…

Sweet-Spiced Carrot Muffins

Serves 18  Serving Size:  1 muffin

Ingredients: 

Canola baking spray

3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (125 mL) whole-wheat flour

1 cup (250 mL) quick cooking oats

1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar

2 tsp  (10 mL) baking powder

1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/2 cup (125 mL) 1% milk

1/3 cup (75 mL) canola oil

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) shredded carrots (about 3 medium)

1 cup (250 mL) diced apple

1/2 cup (125 mL) pecan pieces, chopped

1/3 cup (75 mL) raisins

1/3 cup (75 mL) sweetened flaked coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF (180oC).  Lightly spray two non-stick 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre of the mixture.
  3. Whisk together the milk, oil, and egg in a medium bowl; add the carrots, apple, pecans, raisins and coconut.  Stir until well blended.
  4. Stir into the flour mixture until just blended.  Do not overmix.  Spoon batter into 18 prepared muffin cups.
  5. Bake 17-18 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Place muffin pans on wire rack and let stand 5 minutes before removing.
  6. Place muffins on a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.  As with most baked items that contain fruit, flavours and texture will improve overnight.

This recipe was developed for PPEP by Nancy S Hughes, courtesy of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission.  For more great recipes with canola, go to http://www.canolainfo.org/recipes/recipes.php