If you’re converting to a gluten-free diet because you simply want to try it out, no need to worry. But if you have Celiac Disease, a severe gluten allergy or intolerance, consider not just the food but also the tools in your kitchen. Here is how to set up a gluten-free kitchen so that you’ll feel safe and confident for you or your family member.
For someone with Celiac Disease a piece of bread smaller than 1/7000 of a slice, yes 1/7000 of a slice of bread can have detrimental health effects. Residue from gluten-containing foods can hide in places that you may not think about. So here are a few suggestions for a truly gluten-free kitchen:
- Replace all wooden utensils. Wooden utensils are inexpensive and wood is very porous.
- Wood cutting boards are also porous and should be replaced.
- Replace silicone and rubber utensils.
- Replace the toaster and/or toaster oven. It is extremely difficult to clean every last crumb out of your old one so give it to a friend or donate it to charity.
- Thoroughly clean every inside surface of the microwave oven.
- For plastic food storage containers-run them through the dishwasher twice.
- Give a thorough cleaning to any area that has stored wheat flour or baking mixes.
- If you plan to have products containing gluten in your kitchen, designate cabinets and drawers for gluten-free tools, utensils and food to avoid any confusion.
- Make all your gluten-free utensils and tool all the same color – red spatulas, cutting boards etc.
- If you have a person with Celiac Disease in your house and still intend to use wheat flour, consider this. Flour takes as much as 48 hours to completely settle from the air and land on surfaces. So it’s best to eliminate wheat, barley or rye flour from your kitchen completely.
Stocking a Gluten-Free Pantry
There are a few ingredients that are helpful to have around for all of your gluten-free cooking.
- Gluten-Free Flour Blend– A good all purpose blend is helpful to have around for baking cakes, cookies, muffins and quick breads.
- Xanthan Gum – This is the ingredient that keeps gluten-free baked items held together. Just a small amount is needed to keep cakes from crumbling. There are alternatives to xanthan gum. See my post on gluten-free baking tips for more info.
- White Rice Flour – The best for thickening sauces with a roux and coating chicken for dishes like Chicken Piccata and Chicken Marsala.
- Citrus is one of my favorite ingredients for sweet and savory cooking. Lemon, lime and orange juice and zest are a quick easy way to add some bright, fresh flavor to almost anything you’re cooking.
- Gluten-Free Spices – Some spices can be contaminated with wheat in processing or have flour added to them. Spicely has a line of certified gluten-free spices.
- Tamari or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce is great to have around for stir-fries and Asian dishes.
If you are still overwhelmed at the thought of setting up a gluten-free kitchen contact me for questions, concerns and whatever! I can help you with menu planning, shopping lists and sourcing everything you need.