Gluten Free Kitchen Rules and Guidelines:
When you go gluten-free, it's not enough to clean out your kitchen — you'll also need to replace some of your cookware and kitchen utensils.
Anything that is porous or scratched can harbor tiny amounts of gluten in the cracks ... and it takes very little gluten to make you sick. FDA passed a law - 20 parts per million can be classified as ‘Gluten Free’, However, even 1 part per million will make a person with Celiac Disease ill.
You don't need to spend a lot of money buying new cookware. In fact, it's perfectly possible to get everything at your local dollar store and spend around $40 or less (much less if you don't use a toaster).
However, it is critically important that you do replace these items in your kitchen. If you don't, you risk experiencing continuing symptoms from gluten and slowing your healing process substantially.
Here is what you'll need to get started:
A new toaster at the top of this list for a reason: using an old toaster is one of the most common causes of gluten cross contamination. Ensure you never allow gluten bread to be toasted in your new gluten-free toaster — keep it only for gluten-free products.
Non Stick Pans, Bake Sheets, Muffin Pans –
Non-stick pans get scratches that can harbor minute amounts of gluten and would be another cause of cross contamination. A separate set designated for gluten free food must be used instead.
Stainless steel or solid aluminum pans and lids with no non-stick coating on them do not require replacement, and in fact can be shared between gluten and gluten-free foods as long as they are sterilizes in between uses. Take care to root out any food residue along the seams before you put them into gluten-free service.
Cutting Boards -
By nature, used cutting boards have scratches in them ... And like the scratches in other types of cookware; the scratches in your cutting boards can harbor microscopic deposits of gluten.
Therefore, you'll need to have separate cutting boards and keep them only for gluten-free use. Make sure you add a separate gluten free cutting board for your meat carving as well, since some marinades contain gluten would be another cause of cross-contamination.
Silicone Spatulas –
These types of spatulas can trap particles of gluten, both in their plastic and wooden handles and in scratches on the surface. Make sure to mark the new tools with a prominent "Gluten-Free" label or designated color code to make certain no one accidentally uses them to make a gluten-filled entry or dessert. Metal spatulas or tools do not need replacing. Simply scrub it well before using it with gluten-free food.
Wooden Tools/Rolling Pins –
Wooden spoons, forks, rolling pins and turners are another porous material that can trap small amounts of gluten. Therefore, separate new wooden spoons and other tools will need to be designated for gluten free use only. Even one use in a pot of regular spaghetti can contaminate them, so label them carefully.
Colander & Flour Sifters –
It's not possible to de-gluten a used colander or flour sifter, even if you soak it and then run it through the dishwasher. The gluten from the pasta drained or flour sifted sticks to the inside of all the holes. Therefore, a new colander is required and make certain it remains gluten-free. One in a different color (blue, for example), is reminder to your staff the blue colander is for gluten-free use only.
Plastic Bowls –
If you use plastic mixing bowls or storage containers in your kitchen, you'll need to have separate designated gluten free bowls or containers. Any scratches pose the same old gluten problem.
Again, if you intend to share a kitchen with some gluten free products, you might want to consider color-coding the bowls and the containers.
Mixers, Ovens, Stoves –
It best to clean and sterilize all cook and mixing surfaces before use with gluten free foods, and cover cooking or baking food in the oven.
Kitchen Sink, Sponges, Dish Towels –
A separate gluten free sponge is required. If you take a close look at a used kitchen sponge, you'll see it harbors all sorts of food debris — even if you wash it out carefully, food particles stick to it ... and gluten is one of the stickiest substances known.
You don't want to contaminate your plates, pans and other utensils as you're trying to clean them, so use your own sponge and keep it someplace separate from the "community" sponge. The same goes for anything else you use to clean dishes — get new ones and keep them separate. It can help to segregate by color — for example, use a blue sponge for gluten-free dishes, and a yellow sponge for gluten dishes.
You'll also need your own dish towels. People frequently wipe their hands on a dish towel (possibly after eating a gluten sandwich?) or use the towel to clean off the counter (think: gluten crumbs). Again, choose a color for your own gluten-free dish towels and educate everyone in the house not to use that color towel.
Food Storage –
Designate the top shelf as entirely gluten-free — no other foods can be placed on that shelf (and since no foods will be above the gluten free foods, no crumbs can drift down and contaminate.
More importantly, you'll need to mark all of your foods — especially jars and other containers of condiments such as butter, mayonnaise, mustard and jelly — with a prominent sign indicating that they're gluten-free.
Next, you'll have to educate your staff that they cannot use your condiments as part of a meal that includes gluten. Again, it takes a miniscule amount of gluten to spark a reaction — one unseen crumb in the jam is more than enough to result in a contamination that will produce a day's worth (or more) of symptoms for someone with Celiac Disease. Even touching the tip of a squeeze bottle to gluten bread could lead to a reaction.