TOP TIPS FOR SAFEGUARDING YOUR KITCHEN
It’s super important from the start to ensure you safeguard your kitchen from cross contamination, much in the same way as a factory does. It might sound extreme but this is where accidents could happen if you’re not vigilant.
We all know that when you have kids, you literally need to have eyes in the back of your head and even more so now that you have a coeliac (celiac) child in the family. Everyone in your family, from the youngest to the eldest, needs to understand what this diagnosis means and how poorly the child would feel should they eat anything containing gluten.
Being organised from the off is the key to success. Start by clearing out your cupboards with anything that may have been cross contaminated with gluten e.g. packs of corn flour, sugar, herbs & spices. Even though these don’t contain gluten, are you sure they didn’t come into contact with it, during baking or cooking? Our motto is if in doubt, chuck it out!
Next, check all condiments, sauces, stock cubes, gravies, etc. Some you will instinctively know that these are likely to be glutenous, but others can be a bit of a surprise...for example, mustard is a minefield! Coleman’s mustard powder is gluten free, but when made up, contains gluten. Some supermarket brands are ok and others aren’t, so always read the label and use your Coeliac UK barcode scanner app wherever possible.
10 HANDY TIPS TO AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION IN YOUR KITCHEN:
- Set a cupboard or a shelf aside specially for the gluten free store cupboard essentials. Even keep your semi fresh products in here such as bread, crumpets, pizza bases. Take particular care with flours, grains and cereals, keep them away from the gluten free shelf!
- Either invest in a separate biscuit tin devoted to gluten free. Or do as we do, and just don’t buy biscuits with gluten in them. It’s important to ensure that your child doesn’t feel different and so wherever possible, just ensure they eat the same as the rest of the household and biscuits are a quick win.
- Separate butter, jam, mayonnaise and other condiments to avoid family members dropping crumbs in there and making your gluten free child sick. It’s a wise idea to put stickers on these, so everyone knows which products need to be kept gluten free. Don’t forget to use separate knives / spoons when using the gluten free condiments!
- Toast under the grill, use toaster bags or foil when making your gluten free toast, pizza or oven baked meals. Better still, invest in a separate toaster. Be prepared and have lots of foil in the house, as you can use that for baking trays when cooking on shelves in the oven also.
- Have dedicated chopping boards, knives, non stick pans and a colander. It’s just way too easy for someone pick up a knife or use the same chopping board and inadvertently contaminate. So much simpler to have these separated.
- Try to use a dedicated area for preparing your gluten free meals away from the regular preparation area, if at all possible. If not then just be more vigilant when you are preparing meals, being careful to not use the same utensils, pans and pots if you’re cooking gluten free and ‘regular’ meals all at the same time.
- Never ever use a shared wooden spoon to stir your gluten free meal. The wooden spoon has pores in it that gluten will stay in, even when thoroughly washed. Use a plastic or metal one!
- Either use a separate sponge/dishcloth or to make life really simple we use disposable anti-bacterial wipes. You’ve done so well with safeguarding your kitchen, buying new utensils and boards, so don’t ruin it by ‘cleaning’ them with anything that potentially harbours gluten.
- Clean work surfaces often. Even if you don’t think anything with gluten has been prepared in the space, make sure you clean it down before preparing any food, just in case as it might have slipped someone’s mind.
- And, it goes without saying that washing your hands regularly when preparing food is vital, to avoid cross contamination.