Today I’m going to describe the process of creating a gluten free kitchen- this project proved to be easier than I imagined and helped me get my arms around this new concept. It’s true what they say…knowledge is power and I always feel more in control of a sticky situation when I just jump right in.
You will read everything from keeping separate cookware and toasters to banning all gluten from the kitchen. We started out being overly cautious (which isn’t always a bad thing) but soon changed over to what we felt was “safe” practice and that our space would allow.
We have a four-slot toaster and the left side is designated as GF and the right side is for one of the few items I won’t give up, which is gluten-full bread.
With regards to cookware, you will hear that if you have pans that are teflon coated, cooking non-GF items will contaminate the pan; we’ve determined that on the rare occasion we do expose our pans to gluten, it a) isn’t enough to cause adverse reaction and b) isn’t worth our sanity of obsessing about every little thing. Again, I don’t claim to be an expert- I’m just sharing what works for our family.
As I mentioned in the previous post, until you’re familiar with what products are or are not safe, mark all GF items with a sharpie.
This serves more than one purpose; it properly identifies safe items and serves as a reminder for other family members and guests to not contaminate. Items such as butter, peanut butter, mayo, or any other item that can be spread onto a non-GF food with a knife (especially those that aren’t accustomed to the GF lifestyle), can be easily contaminated if they go back in for more with the same knife. Potential situations like this requires a diligent eye and gentle reminders to not double-dip!
A few staples I keep in the kitchen are as follows:
GF soy sauce- this is easy to find most of the time, but read those labels…the majority have wheat!
GF frozen bread- we use Udi’s and prefer the one labeled as “family size”, as the pieces are larger than the other smaller loaves.
GF fresh bread- we recently discovered Aldi’s brand and they even have a cinnamon raisin!
GF all purpose flour- I like Cup for Cup, found at Williams Sonoma. However, I don’t necessarily like it as a substitute for large amounts of flour, but it does come in handy for recipes that call for about 1/4 cup or less.
Cornstarch- this is an excellent thickening agent for soups, stews, and such.
GF cereal- we buy Chex (with the exception of the wheat variety) and Van’s.
GF crackers- we LOVE Nut Thins…even our guests prefer them over the non-GF crackers!
GF quick oats- we use Bob’s Red Mill.
GF vanilla/flavor extracts- this is one that is a sneaky source of gluten- extracts are made with alcohol and alcohol is most commonly derived from wheat! Gluten free options are readily available, but be certain it actually says “gluten free” on the label.
With these items and foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as meats, cheeses, vegetables, and fruits, there are literally endless options. Keep in mind, I am referring to fresh products- be watchful of cold cuts or any meat that is marinated or prepackaged- it doesn’t mean it isn’t safe, but read the label! The same applies to fruits and veggies…in their natural form they are perfectly safe, but if it’s frozen or in a prepared state, read the label first.
My next post will address ways to modify your favorite recipes, which is more simple than you may think!