You are here

How to Avoid Cross-contamination in your (semi) Gluten Free Kitchen

Decontaminate Your Kitchen

I am lucky to live in a home where everybody lives gluten free, I do not have to worry about gluten getting into my gluten free food. My kitchen at home is a sanctuary, it is the one place that I never have to worry about the food making me ill. For some it is not possible to have a completely "free" kitchen, here are a few things you can do reduce the risk of cross-contamination in your home:

Clean Your Cupboards

If it has been awhile since you pulled everything out of your cupboards and wiped them all down, do it. Pull out everything, wipe down the shelves and dedicate one area to gluten free foods and ingredients. Of course, you want to choose a place that is away from the glutinous flours because they are an airborne source of contamination.

Dedicate a Workspace

If you have extra counter space, dedicate an area to gluten free food preparation. Again, you want to pick a spot away from all glutinous flours. If you don't have the space to dedicate be sure to always prepare gluten free foods first and be diligent about wiping up and washing hands between food prep.

Have "Special" Tools

Wooden spoons, pastry bags, colanders, toasters, and any other grooved or porous kitchen utensil or tool could hold small amounts of gluten behind. If you can, have a separate utensils for gluten free food preparation. If you don't have the space or the budget to replace everything, try a toaster-oven instead of a standard toaster, the tray can be pulled out and washed between use. Instead of wooden spoons switch to metal and again, wash thoroughly between uses. When it comes to baking it is a good idea to line with parchment paper or liners.

Condiments

For any condiment that people will be sticking their knife into to spread on bread or a bun, have a separate one that is exclusively gluten free. People that I know who have a dual kitchen use green dots to mark their condiments that are exclusively gluten free and also have two butter dishes one of which is exclusively gluten free. Be sure to let your guests know about your system to avoid any potential contamination.

Although the reaction to gluten is not nearly as dramatic or life threatening as anaphylaxis for the gluten intolerant each exposure to gluten damages the intestine. Going gluten free is a tremendous adjustment for anybody and having friends and family support makes the journey that much easier. Removing gluten from your kitchen and creating a "safe' space for food preparation will help reduce cross-contamination which will keep your gluten free friend or family member healthy and help them heal. In addition to the above-mentioned ways to make your kitchen gluten friendly, there are some small appliances (in addition to the toaster) that are tremendously useful when following a gluten free diet as follows:

A Bread-machine

Gluten free bread is expensive and not always that great. There are many great bread-machine recipes and in the long run having one will pay off. Many people get these as a gift or buy them on whim, use it once and it ends up in the basement collecting dust. If you don't have one you can easily pick one up used, just be sure to carefully wash all the components. Be sure to get one with either a gluten free cycle or a short cycle. Gluten free bread does not need to rise more than once and if overworked it can turn out more like a brick than a loaf. I have the Cuisinart with a gluten free cycle and dough setting and I have yet to have a bad loaf or pizza crust.