Gluten-Free Fun Food Holidays in July
Who doesn’t love a holiday? Somehow, every day seems to be a holiday for one thing or another, and food-related holidays abound. Let’s look specifically at the food holidays in July and see which are naturally gluten-free and which you will need to modify if you plan to celebrate them.
Celebrate the Months
First off, July—like all the other months—has been a designated time for recognizing several foods and food-oriented activities. Here are just a few:
National Grilling Month – Summer is the perfect grilling season. Check our article on gluten-free grilling to learn how to avoid cross-contact.
National Culinary Arts Month – We always enjoy cooking and baking gluten-free fare. Whether you’re using a gluten-free recipe or adapting conventional recipes with gluten-free options, cooking—and eating—dishes without gluten can be a delightful and tasty experience.
National Picnic Month – Picnics can be gluten-free-for-all. They are often pot-luck style with plates full of breads, buns, crackers, and cookies. An easy way to minimize the risk of cross-contact is to pack a separate basket or cooler with solely gluten-free items, either already prepared or with the ingredients for DIY sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
National Baked Bean Month – Beans are naturally gluten-free, but what about baked beans? Some baked bean brands add gluten-containing ingredients, but other popular brands do not. Read the label on canned baked beans. If the brand is imported from another country and is made with Worcestershire sauce, it might contain malt vinegar which is derived from barley. In the U.S., Worcestershire sauce is typically made with gluten-free ingredients.
National Hot Dog Month – Whether a hot dog is gluten-free can depend on the brand. Some hot dog brands state they do not test for gluten and do not promote their product as gluten-free. Vegan hot dogs, like some other imitation meat products, might add wheat gluten as a binder or use yeast extract for flavor. Unless labeled, or better yet, certified gluten-free, avoid products with questionable ingredients.
National Ice Cream Month – Ice cream made with the most basic ingredients of milk or cream, sugar, and naturally gluten-free flavors are perfect for summer and safe to consume. While it is easy to watch out for fancier flavors with gluten-containing add-ins like cookie dough, cookie bits, and brownie bits, always read the label to make sure you’re not missing something you should be avoiding.
National Pickle Month – Pickles start with naturally gluten-free cucumbers mixed with brine (salt water), vinegar, spices, and sometimes other additives. If the base vinegar is malt vinegar, steer clear. When made with other kinds of vinegar, if nothing else on the label contains gluten, crunch away!
Celebrate the Days
National Gingersnap Day – No, gingersnaps are not naturally gluten-free, but yes, you can purchase—or bake—gluten-free versions!
National Anisette Day – A liqueur made with anise or star anise, a seed from a flowering plant that is naturally gluten-free. The seed is soaked in alcohol and simple syrup is added for sweetness and sometimes diluted with water. Celebrate this day by adding it to a yellow (gluten-free) cake or sugar cookie recipe. For a more intense flavor, mix it in a cocktail or pour it over ice.
National Chocolate Wafer Day – These cookies originated back in the 1800s in the U.S. and are also called sugar wafers. They are typically made with wheat flour, but gluten-free versions do exist.
National BBQ Day – July is the month for grilling and barbecue can be totally gluten-free—just check the label of the BBQ sauce you buy or make your own! Complement your BBQ with a nice salad for a fresh veggie crunch.
Caesar Salad Day – Caesar salads usually include croutons so either omit or make sure they are gluten-free. Caesar salad dressing recipes vary a lot but are traditionally made with fresh lemon juice, egg yolks, garlic, anchovies (or anchovy paste), black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. In the U.S., Worcestershire sauces are typically gluten-free—but be sure to double-check!
National Apple Turnover Day – Pastries made with conventional wheat flour can be modified cup for cup with gluten-free flour blends or use a gluten-free pie crust as a starter. Homemade apple filling is usually gluten-free. The canned version should be as well but read the label just in case.
National Fried Chicken Day – Oh, to dig into a truly gluten-free plate of fried chicken. While you might find some at a gluten-free restaurant or in the frozen food section, you can also make it at home to ensure it is entirely gluten-free.
National Macaroni Day – While classic mac and cheese uses wheat-based macaroni noodles, there are wonderful gluten-free versions at the grocery store and delicious recipes you can try at home using rice, chickpea, or other alternative gluten-free pasta.
National Strawberry Sundae Day – You can’t go wrong with an ice cream sundae as long as all the add-ons are gluten-free too!
National Chocolate with Almonds Day – Chocolate is usually gluten-free, and almonds are naturally so. Do a quick read of the label on that candy bar to make sure there are no gluten-containing ingredients, such as malt (derived from barley).
National Sugar Cookie Day – Yes, you can make these at home entirely gluten-free. There are also some boxed brands or easy-to-make prepared sugar cookie dough that are also gluten-free. Look for GFCO-certified products for extra peace of mind.
National Piña Colada Day – If made entirely from scratch, piña coladas are naturally gluten-free (pineapple, coconut, rum, and ice). If made from a mix, read the label. Rum is a distilled alcohol so safely gluten-free.
National Blueberry Muffin Day – Whether you make it at home from scratch or from a gluten-free mix, nothing beats adding naturally gluten-free blueberries to your muffins for that fresh burst of sweetness.
National Mojito Day – Rum, lime, mint, sugar, and a splash of seltzer—all naturally gluten-free!
National Pecan Pie Day – Can you get a buttery, flakey gluten-free crust for your pecan pie? Yes, you can. Make your own gluten-free crust or purchase a frozen one. Most recipes for pie filling, including pecan pie filling, are gluten-free.
National French Fry Day – Watch for seasonings that might be coating the fries and the oil they are fried in. Otherwise, potatoes are naturally gluten-free.
National Grand Marnier Day – This orange-flavored liqueur is made with brandy, cognac, bitter orange, and sugar and double-distilled. Distilled alcoholic beverages are typically gluten-free. Read about the difference between distillation and fermentation.
National Tapioca Pudding Day – Tapioca is a starch extracted from the naturally gluten-free cassava root. Read the label just in case there are any added ingredients that contain gluten.
National Corn Fritter Day – When it comes to any deep-fried food, the main thing to look out for is frying gluten-containing foods in the same oil as the gluten-free ones. Make sure to use gluten-free ingredients in your fritters.
National Peach Ice Cream Day – Peach ice cream? Sounds delicious! If the ingredients and flavorings are gluten-free, it is safe to indulge!
National Caviar Day – Fish roe (eggs) are naturally gluten-free, but with any prepared food, it depends how it is made. Classic caviar is simply salt-cured roe. Serve it on cucumber slices or gluten-free crackers.
National Daiquiri Day – Daiquiris are cocktails that can come in a variety of fruity flavors and bright colors. They are typically made with white rum, citrus juice, and sugar or simple syrup along with other sweeteners and flavors. All the main ingredients are naturally gluten-free. Sweeteners and flavors should be as well, but if a flavor mix is being used, double-check it is also free of gluten.
National Ice Cream Sundae Day – As with any ice cream, the basic ingredients of milk or cream with sugar are naturally gluten-free. As you move into making that fancy ice cream sundae, make sure the add-ons are also gluten-free. If you are using caramel sauce, make sure it is not a malt caramel sauce (malt is derived from barley).
National Crème Brûlée Day – A classic crème brûlée is made with cream, water, eggs, sugar, and vanilla—all naturally gluten-free. If flavored or if it contains added ingredients, check that they are gluten-free.
National BLT Day – Unless you’re using imitation bacon which could be made with wheat gluten, the tasty trifecta of bacon, lettuce, and tomato are naturally gluten-free. Grab your favorite gluten-free bread, toast it lightly, add some mayo (also gluten-free), and you’re set!
National Vanilla Ice Cream Day – You can’t go wrong with a classic vanilla ice cream made with cream or milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. A cool, creamy treat for a hot summer day.
National Tequila Day – As a distilled spirit, tequila is gluten-free. Some are also labeled gluten-free, and others are GFCO-certified. Check the label of any pre-mixed tequila cocktails to make sure all added ingredients are also gluten-free.
National Wine and Cheese Day – Is wine gluten-free? That’s a good question! We’ve answered it in detail before, but the short answer is wine is usually gluten-free even though it is fermented if it isn’t mixed with ingredients other than grapes. What about cheese? As a dairy product, cheese is usually gluten-free although gluten could be in some cultured cheese products or in added ingredients. Best to check the labels.
National Coffee Milkshake Day – Coffee is gluten-free. Milk is gluten-free. Vanilla ice cream should be gluten-free. Mix it all together, and you’ve got a gluten-free treat! (Read the label on any pre-made milkshake or smoothie mix).
National Scotch Day – Scotch is distilled. During the distillation process, alcohol is volatile and rises to the top and is siphoned off from the main liquid. Gluten proteins are heavy and not volatile, so they should sink to the bottom of distillation vats and do not get siphoned off into the distilled liquid. The resulting distilled liquid, like scotch, becomes gluten-free.
National Hamburger Day – Ground beef? Gluten-free! Hamburger bun? For the safest gluten-free choice, go for a GFCO-certified gluten-free hamburger bun. Having a cookout? Use only gluten-free burger buns to completely avoid cross-contact from gluten-containing buns. We’re pretty sure no one will even know the difference!
National Chicken Wing Day – If you’re a chicken wing connoisseur, you know that some chicken wings are bone-in, some are boneless, some are seasoned, and some are breaded. It’s the seasoning and the breading you need to watch out for. Some seasoning mixes might have gluten ingredients added and unless the breading is gluten-free, you should avoid it. If eating out, make sure that their gluten-free wings are not cooked in the same oil as the ones with gluten-containing breading.
National Cheesecake Day – The cake part of traditional cheesecake typically contains gluten-free ingredients—block cream cheese, sugar, lemon, vanilla extract, and eggs—but the crust does not—unless it is made specifically with gluten-free flour or graham crackers. Ask questions if eating out, read labels if buying at the store.
National Cotton Candy Day – Spun refined sugar is gluten-free. Flavorings or any other additives might not be. Check the label if packaged or ask the vendor if you are getting it from a cotton candy stand.
Which July food holidays will you be celebrating this month?
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