2. Buy new cookware. Unless you've been using stainless steel pots, pans, utensils and they are unscratched, you'll never get what you have clean enough. You may end up replacing some stainless steel items all the same, however.
This one is pretty simple. It all comes down to cross contamination. Think about it a moment. Let's take an onion for example. It's not gluten, but it does leave behind strong smells, tastes, and peelings, so it's a good visual example.
You're making stew, so you cut up several onions with your knife and drop the onions in the pot. That was the last of the stew preparation, and now it's time to wash and cut the fruit. Would you use that same knife without washing it? Only if onion-flavoured fruit is your cup of tea!
But most of us would wash it thoroughly to make sure all the onion residue was gone.
But what if the knife has a few scratches in it, and you can't quite get all the onion off the blade. Do you still use it for cutting the fruit? Most of us would probably get out another knife, just to be safe. Not too many people are going to want onion-flavored bananas!
Now imagine that all those little cracks in your silverware, your cutting board, your pots and pans, etcetera, are filled with gluten instead of onion. Now instead of a funny taste, you're going to get really sick to your stomach (or make someone really sick if you're preparing gluten free foods for kids, your spouse, etcetera).
Do you want to do that? Hopefully your answer is NO!
Here is a list of what you should absolutely replace:
- non-stick cookware *especially if it's scratched, no matter how small the scratch is!
- items with tight corners/curves (difficult to be sure you got it 100% clean)
- toaster oven
- bread machine
- fryer/deep fryer
- plastic or wooden spatulas/ladles/tongs
- cutting boards
- Teflon anything
- old cookie sheets/pie pans/etc
- oven mitts
- anything wooden/bamboo/etc
Remember that you don't have to replace all at once! You didn't buy all your kitchen-ware at one time, did you? As you first learn to cook gluten free, you're probably not going to be making a wide variety of dishes, so your basic sets of kitchen stuff will be enough.
Did you find a good gluten free bread? Replace the toaster. I got a white plastic one and wrote GLUTEN FREE all over it. At the time, I was living with my parents, and I was the only one eating gluten free. I kept it in the box a lot of the time, just to be sure no crumbs fell into it!
Here are some items that you can modify or potentially get clean enough. Please note, however, that some of us are more sensitive than others. I am SUPER sensitive to gluten, so my list of "maybe it doesn't need to be replaced" is extremely small. However, I've read some of these suggestions from blogs over the past few years, and am just putting them out there for your consideration. You need to do what is right for you, while keeping in mind that even if you don't react to small amounts of gluten, it can still do damage to your insides that you don't feel.
Sponges (dish cloths, etc). You need to keep sponges/dish cloths, etcetera that are as gluten free as the rest of your items. If you wash your pan out with a sponge that was just used to wash off a gluten-covered pot, you'll probably be heading out the next day to replace your pot. While living with my parents, I kept my sponge and scubber in the GF cupboard with my pots and pans.
- crock pot
- cast iron
About the crock pots: I'd used mine only a few times, but I know I made gluteny dishes in it. The pot did not have any chips or cracks, and is ceramic and smooth. However, just to be safe, after giving it a thorough scrubbing before the first gluten free use, I put a crock pot liner in it! This does not interfere with the flavor (and believe me, I'd notice if it did!) and prevents the food from touching the pot. Makes for a much easier clean-up, too!
Cast iron: Luckily, the cast iron I used prior to my diagnosis was not mine, so getting new items was the only option. However, some folks suggest doing this: Put it in the oven on the self-cleaning cycle, scrub it well, re-season it, and dedicate it to gluten free cooking. The oven cycle is supposed to get hot enoughh to turn any food particles to ash, which you can then brush away. Personally, I'd rather just save up and get a new pan -- or put it on your wish list. Did you know that Amazon has a feature now that allows you to add ANY item from ANY store to your Amazon wish list?
Now, if you're living on your own, or if your entire household is gluten free, this won't be an issue. But for those of you with non-GF roommates, family, etctera, you're going to have to find a safe place to keep your new gluten-free kitchenware so it won't become contaminated!
My parents had a white cupboard that had only been used for office supplies. They didn't need it any more, so I cleaned it out, and now it's for gluten free items only. I do use their silverware and dishes, since they're not chipped and can be thoroughly cleaned. But, I only use my pots, pans, spatulas, etcetera, when I'm up visiting. My current household is gluten free, even though I'm the only one that needs to be gluten free.
Despite some stereotypes, there really are a lot of tasty gluten free items out there, and a lot of natural foods (fruit, veggies, unadulterated meats) are gluten free to begin to start! It's also much harder to impulse buy in the grocery store, because you have to read all the labels. It also helps your non-GF household members (if they're willing) to give up a lot of the pre-packaged, processed "foods" that no one should really be eating in the first place!
Wondering if there's anything you DON'T have to replace? Yup! Uncoated, unscratched stainless steel!
Would love to get some feedback from my readers (I know you're out there!) on what you've done to protect your gluten free items in a non-gluten free household! Did anyone discover new kitchen items that now you can't live without?
Anyone have any questions?