Have you thought about switching to a gluten free kitchen? If you’ve decided to go gluten free because you or a family member has gluten intolerance or celiac disease, there are some things you need to know for making over your kitchen.
Many people decide to go gluten free only to find many stumbling blocks along the way, especially if you are sharing a kitchen with people who will still be consuming gluten. Designated gluten free areas and cookware are essential.
Converting To A Gluten Free Kitchen
The single greatest change you will need to ensure the health benefits of your new diet is the replacement of some of your current cookware.
Any containers you use in the preparation and storage of your food will need to be free of any residue of gluten to prevent the bothersome symptoms of minute traces of it in your food.
One of the greatest culprits for the storage of gluten-tainted crumbs would, not surprisingly, be your toaster. The gluten residue will remain on the old one regardless of your attempts to remove all the old crumbs. If someone in your household is continuing with a gluten diet while others are gluten free, it will be essential for you to have two separate toasters. Keep one for gluten-containing foods and the other for gluten free foods.
It is questionable whether non-stick cookware being used for gluten-containing foods can ever be thoroughly cleansed of all traces of gluten because it is possible for gluten to remain within its scratches.
Cast Iron Skillets
Heavy-duty cast iron skillets are very popular in good cuisine, but even in their very best condition, they are porous; they are capable of holding onto trace residues of gluten. You would need to replace these pieces altogether or clean them through the cycle of a self-cleaning oven. It is only through these very hot temperatures (around 900 degrees Fahrenheit) that you can really destroy the gluten protein.
If you decide to refurbish an old cast iron skillet in this fashion, you can then re-season the pan. At this point, of course, you should use it exclusively as a gluten free pan.
Equally porous and prone to hold onto residue of gluten are pizza stones, which you can clean in the same manner as your gluten free oven.
Another item that gluten will cling to is the cutting board, which is frequently pretty well-scratched and which you will need to replace. The same goes for carving boards, which may often be tainted with marinades and sauces containing gluten. If you have an old family favorite cutting board, use it as a cherished item of décor but not for your food.
Generally most utensils for cooking are capable of cross-contaminating with gluten, including wooden spoons, plastic spoons or spatulas, as well as the flexible silicone spatulas we often use in baking to scrape the bowl. These all are somewhat porous and prone to scratches that harbor gluten. Replacement is the only safe option for a gluten free kitchen. Rolling pins, as with cutting boards and spoons, are also susceptible to cross-contamination as do any wooden utensil.
Baking Sheets and Muffin Tins
Baking sheets and muffin tins are often non-sticking and, therefore, prone to easy scratching and harboring hidden gluten.
Colanders and Sifters
Two other items in food preparation that would be close to impossible to thoroughly clean are the colander for draining pasta, and the sifter for baking. The many tiny holes in each of these would be tainted with gluten no matter how diligently we would attempt to clean them. Replacement of both of these would be wise for a gluten free kitchen.
Countertops and Food Preparation Areas
Be sure to stay on top of your countertops and food preparation areas. It is best to have a completely separate area for gluten versus gluten free food preparation. If that is impossible, thorough cleaning is essential.
Shared Jars and Containers
Even though many items are gluten free, you can easily contaminate them thru sharing them with others in the home who are using them for non gluten free items such as spreading on bread or crackers. Sharing jars of condiments such as jellies and mayonnaise is an absolute no no for a gluten free kitchen. Cross-contamination can easily happen with such items. If cross-contamination is a risk, mark gluten free items with a sharpie and make sure all family members use the designated jars as instructed.
Kitchen Pantry, Cabinets and Drawers
Be conscientious of crumbs in the pantry, cabinets, or drawers. Clean them out thoroughly before using them for gluten free food storage. If you are sharing space with people who still eat gluten, separating designated gluten free areas are a must!