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Affordably Gluten-Free: Our Search for Sorghum



Last fall I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which means I can never eat gluten (that is wheat, barley, rye, or anything made with them).  At the time, I was too ill to do anything about my diet, but fortunately my oldest daughter did the research and got me started on a gluten-free lifestyle.  What a blessing that was!


However, it wasn’t long before we realized that with 7 cooks in our home it was inevitable to get crumbs, dustings of flour, or drops of pasta water into my gluten-free meals.  Therefore our home is now a gluten-free zone.  As a result, my health has been improving, bit by bit, but feeding an entire family gluten-free food is a bit of a strain on the budget.


You see, alternative flours are packaged in tiny packages at outrageous sums.  Just two years ago we could get a 10kg (22lb) bag of wheat flour for under $4 on sale.  Now I’m spending $4.79 for one pound of sorghum flour!  That’s over $1.50 per cup of flour!  The ingredient cost is just the tip of the iceberg; if we didn’t do all our baking from scratch, we’d be spending $7.00 for a loaf of gluten-free bread which, by all accounts, is horrible.


So I began researching sorghum.  We tried growing our own and the plants are now huge, as tall as our barn roof.   It turns out that another name for sorghum is broom corn, so we may be making brooms as well as harvesting the seeds. That could be fun, but we can’t eat brooms, and there is not enough sorghum seed to meet our requirements. 


When we called around for a cheaper source of the flour, we discovered that only the tiny expensive packages were gluten-free.  All the rest had some wheat contamination from being milled in a regular flour mill. 


Well, then, how about buying the grain rather than the flour?  That was the next obvious thing to try.  One well-stocked coop in our province said they could find no source of sorghum grain, so I almost gave up.  If they couldn’t find it, who could?  But we kept on looking and God blessed our efforts.  We now have 45 pounds of sorghum grain in a plastic bin in our basement, bought for only $40 (a savings of $175 over the cost of the equivalent amount of flour).


We plan to mill it using a little coffee mill.  If that doesn’t work, we’ll try the Sue Gregg soaking and blending method  of baking with grain.  Hopefully we won’t need to buy a real grain mill, but if we do, we’ll save bundles on our rice and bean flours as well. 


This post has been entered in Canada Girl’s Tightwad Tuesday and in Being Frugal’s Tightwad Tuesday.



  1. 2boysmom says:

    I know Celiac is hard. My dad has suffered with it for years and it definitely affects the entire household. The food is very expensive. I hope you continue to heal and find the products you need.

    Have an awesome week!

  2. solidrock says:

    Wow I had no idea it was so expensive to go gluten free! And I never knew what that tall broom like corn was that so many farmers grow around here! Cool stuff..but why is it so expensive? If it grows like corn …and it seems to here ….it should be cheaper. It is a grass afterall.

    We are not a gluten free family but I do not eat bread. Occassional I eat a sweet treat. But bread causes yeast problems, bowel problems and itching. Its just not worth it! I feel sooooo much better when I do not eat it.

  3. proverbsmama says:

    I'm glad you found a great deal on it. That has to make you feel good that your determination and persistence paid off. Great job!

  4. IllinoisLoriH says:

    Thank you for sharing God's faithfulness to you and your family…He will continue to guide you and hold you in the palm of His good hand!

    God Bless,

    Lori (aka Plans4You(

  5. Canadagirl says:

    Ohhh I am sooooooooo glad you found a way to get the grain to grind. I am hoping to get a grain mill in the next year or so. Any gluten free recipes I would love for you to share ! I want to experiment with that. I pray many blessings on this adventure. When I started to learn to cook for my son with his Candida and food allergies it has been such a learning curve but I am glad I had a chance to learn all that I have to this point and still learning !

    Blessings and ((HUGS)) my SSiC

  6. proverbsmama says:

    Thanks for mentioning my menu blog. I have wanted to get a tracker put on that one to see how many visitors have stopped by, but just haven't had time or energy to do it. I can't even do it when we are slow at work on Sundays because they block us from posting to our own blogs. I can post comments on the blogs of other people, but can't upload any new thoughts on my own blogs.

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