Monday, March 11, 2013

Keeping Your Kitchen Safe

Keeping Your Kitchen Safe
some easy tips to avoid cross-contamination at home

If your significant other is anything like my husband, he (or she) makes many sacrifices to help you stay gluten-free without losing all interest in eating. And if you are anything like me, the last thing you want to do is ask him (or her) to make one more sacrifice and make your kitchen entirely gluten-free. The good news? You may not have to. Implementing a few simple ideas may be enough to keep your kitchen safe and everyone in your house happy.

PROBLEM: Keeping gluten-free and traditional pasta separate Look at the picture below. Can you tell which pasta is gluten-free and which is made from traditional wheat flour? Neither can I.

Two are gluten-free, but which two?

SOLUTIONS: 1) Buy gluten-free pasta in unique shapes or colors For a unique shape, try penne (shown above), shells or fusili. For a stand-out color, look for spinach- or squash-flavored pastas, which will be naturally tinted green or orange. A new shape or unusual color may not impact taste, but it will give you confidence the next time you serve spaghetti. 2) Use an easy labeling system To help tell our pasta jars apart, I simply tied a colored ribbon to the ones containing gluten-free pasta. Simple, elegant, and easy.

An orange ribbon indicates "gluten-free,"
while clear glass containers keep me organized 

PROBLEM: Gluten sticks to my colander when I drain gluten-containing pasta

SOLUTIONS: 1) Always drain the gluten-free pasta first & scrub thoroughly I drain my gluten-free pasta and plate it up, and then I drain the gluten-containing stuff for my husband and son. When it is time to clean up, I submerge the colander in a pot or sinkful of hot water, and then scrub and rinse repeatedly. 2) Buy a gluten-free-only colander and make sure the rest of the family knows it's off-limits While you are at it, you may also want to consider buying a dedicated toaster and try to stick to non-porous utensils, like plastic. 

PROBLEM: Gluten-containing crumbs in my otherwise gluten-free margarine or jam

Which one would you dip your knife into?

SOLUTION: Buy one brand (or flavor) of margarine and jam for yourself and one for your gluten-eating loved ones When it comes to cross-contamination, it is always best to play it safe. While the above problem could also be solved by teaching every member of the household how to butter their toast without smearing whole-wheat crumbs into the container, it is a lot easier to say, "This is mine. Don't touch it." 

This seems to work best when the "hands-on" product is something the rest of the family loves (e.g. I eat peach and apricot jam, while my husband and sun revel in strawberry). As an added perk, I get to experiment with different flavors, and my husband never has a reason to complain.

Who says you have to share?

Hungry for More?
Check out these links to gluten-free cross-contamination articles

Keeping a Safe Gluten-Free Kitchen (Suzy Schurr, Celiac Central)
Cross-Contamination (Canadian Celiac Association)
Cross Contamination (Coeliac UK)
Ask the Celiac Expert: Q & A (Shelley Case, RD, Gluten Free Diet)

Have a great cross-contamination prevention tip? Leave a comment and pass it on!

Concerned about cross-contamination and looking for advice? Leave a comment and let me know how I can help. I'm here for you!

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