Tips for Setting up Gluten Free Space in your Kitchen
Depending on your kitchen space, you may or may not want to attempt to have both gluten and gluten free spaces in your kitchen. This will also depend on whether you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and if gluten intolerance, how sensitive you are. If you have celiac or are severely gluten intolerant, you will want to either ban all gluten products from your house or set up strict gluten free zones. This is what I did, and it has worked well for our family. Here are the steps I took:
- First, I designated a large portion of the counter top as gluten free. This is one part of an L-shaped countertop and there is a microwave at the corner so there is a clear boundary.
- On my gluten free counter top, I have two wooden cutting boards which I labelled “gluten free” along the side with black permanent marker. I also have my own gluten free toaster.
- Anyone may use this counter as long as it is for gluten free foods only. This requires consistent policing by me but by and large, my family wants me to be healthy (otherwise who would feed them 😉) so they do their part to remember.
- Wooden spoons, spatulas, etc are labelled “gluten free” with black Sharpie.
- I don’t keep any glutinous flours in the house- I find that its just too hard to clean up thoroughly so all the baking we do is gluten free. The exception is to use a packaged mix (for example, we have pancake mix) which only requires adding water. I find this can be managed without too much mess.
- In the fridge, any gluten free condiments, jams, hummus, etc. are labelled with “gluten free” with large letter on the lid (keep those Sharpies handy!). This is to remind people not to dip any gluten-containing breads, crackers, etc into them and not to double-dip a knife being used to spread jam, for example. I also really stress to people that they need to tell me if they do think they have cross-contaminated something by mistake. I am careful not to punish anyone when this happens because otherwise they may not tell me the next time it happens. When it does happen, I simply scratch out the “free” from the top of the container and the rest of the family can continue using it and I buy a new one for myself. No biggie.
- Guests to the house are trained or supervised in the kitchen.
- All gluten free pantry foods are stored together and separately from the gluten-containing pantry foods. This makes it easier to find things and cuts down on the chances of cross-contamination.