We’re celebrating Coeliac Awareness Week, 13 to 20 March 2012. It’s wonderful to see the growth in gluten free products available in shops, online and when eating out. I’m often asked about how to cook gluten free food and how to prepare our delicious Melinda’s goodies safely. This is a big issue for many families, including mine, especially if only one or two people in your household follow a gluten free diet.
In my home mealtimes can be frantic. Checking labels and knowing ingredients is critical but the way you cook is equally important. Even a small amount of gluten contaminating your food can have a big impact on your well-being. By following a few simple rules you can avoid cross contamination and show other family members, including your children, how to prepare and cook gluten free.
1. Make sure all boards, spoons and other cooking utensils are clean before preparing gluten free meals. Many families with gluten and non-gluten eaters often have two sets of commonly used items such as chopping boards, baking trays and knives. If buying a separate set of baking tins isn’t an option, try using cupcake papers or tin liners. Colour coding your kitchen items is a great way to separate them.
2. Protect against cross contamination by paying particular attention to your work surfaces and food preparation areas. Make sure there are no stray crumbs lying about.
3. Any utensils or appliances that may have come into contact with wheat sourced foods or any other gluten containing grains may be contaminated. Try to keep a separate bowl for your mixer or food processor, otherwise make sure you clean them thoroughly between uses.
4. Buy a second toaster just for gluten free bread or use the special toasty bags. It is almost impossible to clean toasters thoroughly.
5. Store gluten free items in sealed containers. Flour is so fine and can easily contaminate other food. It is best to keep your gluten free products in a different section of the cupboard.
6. Make sure all your gluten free products are clearly labelled in the fridge. Store them above any other food items so that they can’t be contaminated by stray crumbs or other contaminants falling onto them.
7. Cook our goodies first thing each day while the kitchen is clean. It will also be quieter at this point so hopefully there will be fewer mistakes such as using the same spoon (or a little person constantly requesting to lick the spoons!).
8. Invest in a set of squeeze bottles for tomato and other sauces, jam and mayonnaise. This will stop ‘double dipping’ and getting bread crumbs into the jars.
9. If you’re working with both gluten free and wheat breads (e.g. making the kids’ sandwiches in the morning), it is often better to prep the gluten free products first, then have them all finished and packed away before starting the others.
10. This one goes without saying: wash your hands thoroughly before and while preparing foods.
During Coeliac Awareness Week we’ve got some great specials on our premix and cracker range. Our fabulous luxury holiday competition runs out at the end of this month so don’t miss out! More details about the specials and the competition are available on our website at www.melindasgfg.com.
Enjoy Coeliac Awareness Week this year and ensure you get along to one of your local coeliac events so you can enjoy some delicious goodies and conversation with likeminded friends! Go to www.coeliacawareness.org for more information.