Video: The Healthiest Way to Thicken Gravy

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist November 20, 2012

When it comes to thickening gravy, most people are missing the, uh, boat entirely!

Cornstarch is the most common gravy thickener, but this is a terrible choice as it is most likely made from unlabeled genetically modified corn unless you make the effort to buy organic.  GM corn has been linked to organ failure and tumors in animals.  Do you really want this stuff to be included with your holiday meal?

Even if organic, cornstarch is basically devoid of any nutrition or flavor and not worth the price.

Why not add both nutrition and extra flavor by using a nutrition rich thickening agent that is a bit time consuming to make yourself, but is now conveniently available for purchase:  sprouted flour.

I prefer sprouted einkorn, spelt, or kamut flour myself, but if you are gluten free, you can use buckwheat, rice, or any gluten free flour of your choice.

Benefits of Sprouted Flour

Sprouting a grain before grinding into a flour increases the nutrition of the grain substantially.  For instance, vitamin C is produced by sprouting grain, but it is absent in the unsprouted form.  Vitamin B content is increased dramatically by sprouting as are carotenes.  Irritating substances in the hull of the grain are inactivated by sprouting as well.  These inhibitors (phytic acid) have the potential to neutralize the enzymes in our digestive tract and block mineral absorption, so sprouting exponentially increases ease of digestion as well as nutrient absorbability.

Much media attention has been focused recently on the problem of aflatoxins in grains.   Aflatoxins are potent carcinogens and are present in high quantities in highly processed foods such as crackers, cookies, chips, and cereals.     Sprouting inactivates aflatoxins, which is just another reason to follow the wisdom of traditional peoples in grain preparation!

How to Make or Buy Sprouted Flour

If you want to make sprouted flour yourself, it is very easy but will take a bit of time and you will have to plan ahead so you get it done before your holiday meal.   Click here for a video how-to.

If you want to purchase sprouted flour, you can buy sprouted wheat berries like I do so that you can grind yourself for the freshest and most nutrient dense flour, or if you don’t have a grain grinder, you can purchase sprouted flour.

** Click here for the vetted sources I recommend and buy from myself when purchasing sprouted grains.   At least one of these companies is offering free shipping through December, so this is a great time to stock up!

Below is a video clip I filmed for the News Channel 8 Today show which aired yesterday on many NBC affiliate stations around North America.   Please click over and like Gayle Guyardo’s Facebook page, as she is the co-anchor of the show and was responsible for getting this important Traditional Cooking information on TV.

To view all the Holiday Turkey Tips I filmed for the NBC News Channel 8 Today show, click here.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

 

Comments (43)

    • Hi Lisa,

      I have tried coconut flour in making gravy before. It does lend it self to a slightly sweet gravy. I have not tried almond flour. The most successful gluten free gravy I have made is with brown rice flour.(Yes, you can get organic sprouted brown rice flour on Amazon) The finished product is so similar to using regular flour that my family could not tell the difference. Of course using homemade broth helps too!

      Happy Thanksgiving!
      Sabrina\’s last post: Video-How to Roast a Chicken

      Reply
  1. Healthier yet would be thickening gravy with egg yolks. Beat a couple of egg yolks in a one or two cup glass measuring cup. Gradually, whisking the whole time, add small amounts of the hot broth for gravy to temper the egg until you have about a cup of liquid with the egg yolks. Then pour the yolk/broth mixture back into the pan with the rest of the broth and continue to whisk until thick and smooth.

    Reply
  2. What is a good way to thicken soup, to make it creamy and opaque rather than broth-y and translucent? Is arrowroot a good choice? (Gluten is not a problem in my case.)

    Reply
  3. I haven’t tried it, but I’d imagine chia seed meal would probably be just about the best (and healthiest) gravy thickener you could ask for. It has that great gelatinous quality.

    Reply
  4. Sara… Great info and Thankyou. Ad an overweight Chef, turned Trucker and newbie blogger… I aspire to the traditional foods way that you teach… Though I fall well short of the mark. I haul crude oil in the ND oil fields…so acquiring such foods is next to impossible. I bring what i can from home and adverb have a pressure cooker in my truck were i make my own foods as time allows. Anyway… As I said, I’m a newbie blogger and after following yours for some time I’ve come to respect your dedication and skill and now having tasted the other side… Realizing the challenges of producing such quality content as you do. I should like very much if you would do me the honor of allowing me to “pick your brain” if you will. I know your a busy woman, and your time is valuable… So if you’d prefer that i submit written questions for your review and response that would be great. I would love a phone interview even more but understand if that’s not in the cards. Please respond at your convenience to my email I’ve entered above. Check out my blog at the website listed there as if you care to know me better. Dave

    Reply
  5. Be careful not to sprout sorghum, also called milo. I was about to start sprouting it when I happened on an article that this grain produces cyanide when sprouted!
    From what I gather, that’s the only grain of concern.

    Reply
  6. Great info Sarah thanks! Do you have any articles to back up the claim that sprouting reduces aflatoxin in grains? Because If so I would love to share it with my nutrition professor who is also associated with the FDA and is currently working with the food industry in Nigeria to reduce food risks (and he specifically mentioned aflatoxin in corn).

    Reply
  7. Just a heads up – the links on your resources page do not work…at least for me.

    Personally I use arrowroot flour to thicken gravy – but I like this idea as well.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist November 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      You have to make sure Javascript is enabled for your browser for the links to work. Try another browser perhaps.

      I have given up using arrowroot for thickening. It fails too many times and I like the additional flavor sprouted flour imparts. No comparison in my opinion.

      Reply
  8. Hi Sarah:

    It was great meeting you at the conference.

    Grain growers doing high brix nutrient dense farming have found antitoxins presence is a sign of inferior quality in general. The more nutrient dense the grain is, the higher the specific gravity (the heavier it is), the less the probability of having antitoxins. High brix nutrient dense grains don’t contain them. Of course, they will still have enzyme inhibitors that need to be deactivated through something like spouting or fermentation.

    How about using kudzu root for thickening?
    Jamil Avdiyev\’s last post: Chromium Dense Almonds

    Reply
  9. Kelley Chapman via Facebook November 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    This is going to be the first year that I can actually eat the gravy and not have to take a pain pill (I am not kidding) Thank you for your life changing/giving posts, videos, years of research-and not being afraid to go against the grain years ago even if you were the only one around you doing it.

    Reply
  10. I’ve been using rice flour for a while now and it works fine. To get a darker brown colour to gravy made with any white flour I leave the skins on my organic onions when I make the stock…it’s a natural brown colouring!

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  11. I use an immersible blender and blend my stock vegetables to thicken gravy. Works with loads of sauces. My short ribs and sauce are quite famous – mushrooms are the secret there.

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  12. As we are grain-free, I am most interested in trying egg yolk thickening idea. Up to now, we’ve had pretty runny gravy as I didn’t know what on earth I could thicken it with. It seems a mite tricky and maybe more time intensive in the midst of the rush of trying to get the food on the table?

    Reply
    • Irene–thickening with egg yolks isn’t tricky–you just have to take care not to cook the egg too quickly with the hot broth/sauce you are adding it too. To do that, you have to temper the egg by adding a small amount of the hot liquid slowly to the egg yolks while beating constantly. If you see chunky egg bits forming (like curds), that’s a signal you’ve added too much hot liquid too quickly. The idea is to gently and slowly warm the yolks by adding the hot liquid. After you’ve added at least as much hot liquid as you had yolk volume, you can slowly, while whisking the broth constantly, add the now tempered yolks to your broth. The broth should not be boiling, but just below a simmer. If you boil the broth, you’ll curdle the egg (not good eats). It isn’t hard, just go slowly until you get the hang of it.

      You use the same technique to make egg custards and puddings.

      Reply
  13. Julianne Zoviar Clunne via Facebook November 22, 2012 at 6:17 am

    you are a truly wonderful educator ! my daughter and I live a 1000 miles apart ..she put me onto your site …our irregular phone calls are often about raw milk etc via your info …so thanks xx

    Reply

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