One condiment people with wheat allergies may enjoy finding is gluten free soy sauce. The difficulty people with celiac disease have is choosing proper gluten free foods. At first glance, you may not think soy sauce would contain gluten. However, most soy sauces available at your grocery store probably are not safe for someone with the disease.
How Is Soy Sauce Made?
Soy sauce production will of course vary with the manufacturer. There are also regional differences in the production. Soy sauce is used in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other cuisines, each with their own unique style and flavor. The process begins with soybeans. Soybeans are highly nutritional legumes which are low in starch and rich in calcium and magnesium.
Soy sauce can be produced quickly through a non-brewed method or through fermentation. Low quality brands often use the non-brewed method which only takes a couple of days. The latter method is the traditional way this ancient condiment has been prepared. Fermentation can take several months or more to prepare. Salt, water, and wheat are used to create the unique flavor of soy sauce. Since wheat is often a part of the mash, generally soy sauce is not gluten free.
Bacteria are added to break down the proteins. This process produces several amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. The mash will ferment for a certain period of time. It is then filtered and pasteurized.
Gluten Free Soy Sauce
One gluten-free option available to you is Eden Foods Organic Tamari Soy Sauce. This product follows the traditional methods of brewing soy sauce, including aging in cedar casks for added flavor.
The company prides itself on producing a quality product that uses natural ingredients such as organic soybeans and organic rice alcohol as a naturally fermented grain alcohol to preserve its unique flavor and freshness.
The name, tamari, refers to the fact that the product is produced without wheat. It is the original soy sauce, produced during Hacho miso production. Traditionally, it was highly prized and was considered a rare commodity.
Another soy sauce that's gluten free is San-J's Wheat Free Tamari. Like the Eden Foods product, manufacture of the products uses the traditional fermentation method. San-J's tamari is certified gluten free by Gluten-Free Certification Organization and organic by the Quality Assurance International (QAI) certification program. QAI is a private organization whose mission is to verify the organic quality of foods.
When you order take out, pay attention to the brand of single serving soy packets your local Asian restaurant provides. Kari-Out manufactures a gluten-free product available to Asian restaurants called Panda Brand Low Sodium Gluten Free Soy Sauce Packets.
Paul Epstein, President of Kari-Out, developed this wheat free option after he and several of his family members were diagnosed with celiac disease. Perhaps knowing the history behind the product will create a greater sense of trust that the product can be added to your list of gluten free foods.
If you live in the Midwest, look for Hy-Vee Brand Soy Sauce at your local Hy-Vee grocery store. Hy-Vee is unique among grocery store chains in that it publishes a list of all the gluten-free products available in its stores. In addition to its soy sauce, many other of its store brand products are gluten free. Of the soy sauces that stores carry, only the Hy-Vee brand is safe for those with wheat allergies or gluten intolerant.
Homemade Soy Sauce
While these products are available online, you may want to consider making your own gluten free soy sauce. Try mixing three parts molasses to one part balsamic vinegar. Add sugar to your taste. Of course, the taste will vary with the brand of molasses and balsamic vinegar you choose, but there is plenty of room to experiment. You can make as much as you need, when you need it for added convenience.
As awareness of celiac disease increases, you will find more options become available to you. Thanks to companies like Eden Foods and Hy-Vee, those with gluten intolerance issues have someone looking out for their needs.