Great Christmas Gifts for Your Gluten Free Family and Friends

Gluten-free Christmas Gifts
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After you have tossed all offending foods from your pantry, the next hardest thing about living gluten free is preventing cross-contamination, especially when you live in a household of both gluten-eating and gluten-free people. One tip from celiac disease experts – you really must have on hand certain kitchen items that are dedicated to gluten-free foods.

If you have someone in your life who is new to gluten-free eating, he or she may need some of these wonderful items under the Christmas tree this year!

Pots and Pans
With cookware, having a set that is dedicated to gluten-free foods is wonderful. It’s not so much about the cleaning, says Jane Anderson, an expert in celiac disease and gluten sensitivity for About.com – we hope that you would be diligent in cleaning all of your dishes well! But, if you are cooking for a family, you probably want to cook foods simultaneously – a pot of gluten free pasta for you and regular for the fam.

A tip for all of the new kitchen items that will be dedicated gluten-free – make them a different color from your “regular” cookware. I like the color red – meaning “STOP”, this pan is for gluten-free only! Also remember that non-stick pans are easier to clean.

Cooking Spoons, Spatulas, Stirrers
If you are like me, you easily become distracted while you are cooking. Keep one set of stirring spoons gluten free and one for regular foods, again in different colors or different materials (ex: plastic for gluten free, wooden for regular foods). That way, you will be less likely to accidentally put the spoon you have been using for the gluten-containing gravy into your own gluten-free dish.

Colander
Having two colanders is essential if you make two pasta dishes – one containing gluten and the other using gluten free pastas. A tip for those who do not have two colanders: drain the gluten free pasta first while the dish is clean so that little pieces of the regular past will not stick to the colander and contaminate gluten-free food.

Toaster
ESSENTIAL for the gluten-free family. Don’t want two toasters sitting on your counter? Try one with four slots and label them “gluten OK” and “gluten free”. (Although, remember that when you pull regular toast out of one slot, the crumbs may inadvertently spill into the opposite side, so extreme care is really necessary.) In toaster ovens, put down aluminum foil on the rack to avoid contamination. Or you can contact the manufacturer for an additional tray that you can set aside to be only gluten-free.

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Muffin Tins, Cookie Sheets and Other Baking Dishes
Do not bake gluten-free muffins or cupcakes in the same tins used for gluten-containing baked foods. With cookie sheets, you can “cheat” and put down heavy aluminum foil or a silicone pad.

Flour Sifter
If you bake often, have two of these so you sift regular flour in one and GF flour in the other. Remember, that wheat flour can stay airborne for hours, so when sifting, be sure anything you want to remain gluten-free is covered or removed from the area.

Bread Machine
Commercially purchased gluten-free bread is quite expensive, so many family opt to make their own. Why not treat them to a new bread machine?

Panini Press, Waffle Maker
Making a gluten-free Panini would be awesome!

Mini Deep Fryer
For making gluten-free onion rings or other GF breaded treats. If only one in the family is gluten-free, a mini fryer should fit the bill. Do not attempt to fry gluten-free foods in the oil you just used for gluten-containing foods.

Cutting Boards, Dough Boards
I make sandwiches for my children on the cutting board on my island. I need to be diligent and remember not to make my own GF sandwiches on the same board. A solution, have your own dedicated spot. (Again, I really like bright colors for gluten free so it stands out among the rest.)

Avoid wood and bamboo, as these porous surfaces are harder to clean and have little nooks and crannies where gluten can be trapped.

References:
Celiac Central: How to Make (and Keep) Your Kitchen Gluten Free
Cooking Light Magazine: Gluten-Free Kitchen Safety Tips
American Celiac Disease Alliance
Thompson T. "Gluten contamination of commercial oat products in the United States." New England Journal of Medicine 351: 2021-2022, 2004.

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