Practically Gluten Free Ground Almonds

I have been lucky these past few years - no gluten related sickness. It helps that I haven't really been eating much in the way of grain either - so less rick for contamination of my food. I would always advise people who are very sensitive to gluten to stick mostly to the food that comes out of their own kitchen, or eat simply in restaurants - steak and salad (no croutons!), fish and vegetables (no béchamel!) or Moules Marinierre.

However, of late I have been making nut bread again for Finn's lunchbox and a little toasty nibble with our eggs in the morning - for something other than celery and peppers to spread my beloved liver pate on! It's great to have the option when we feel like a bit of bread.

The only way I know for sure of obtaining 100% gluten free ground nuts, is to wash, dry and then grind them yourself. But sometimes (read, 'often') I find that life would trundle along much more smoothly if I didn't have to do every last bit of processing with my bare hands! Nobody I know of in the UK performs the Elisa test on ground almonds - so when you buy from a supermarket or whole-food shop it's a case of crossing your fingers and hoping they're ok.

It's also impossible for me to wash, dry and process enough nuts for my upcoming River Cottage Gluten Free Baking Day (no space left I'm afraid - call River Cottage on 01297 630302 and put your name on the waiting list for the next course, dates TBC). So I needed to find a source of uncontaminated ground almonds.

After speaking to all the major wholesalers, I hit on a smaller company, who told me that if I bought a 10 kilo box of organic ground almonds, they could guarantee that it had come directly from the factory in Spain where the almonds are processed in a nut only facility.

Whilst I would still suggest that if you are super, super sensitive to gluten, it's worth being as cautious as you possibly can and speaking directly to the factory where your nuts are processed. I am happy to have found a source of ground almonds that I am comfortable with - as good as certified in my book.

When you get your box of ground almonds, I would pack it all into 500g or 1kilo re-sealable freezer bags and freeze straight away. This preserves the nuts in peak condition. Just use directly from the freezer.

The other advantage to buying ground nuts this way is that you will pay about 25-30% less than even the prices the supermarkets offer.

Here's where I buy mine online: Naturally Good Food where the helpful, friendly and knowledgeable staff make all the difference

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