Thursday, March 10, 2011

Basic GF Cooking Tips

Recently, a friend of mine contacted me about eating GF.  At the same time I was asked to give a class on preparing GF meals for church.  The class is aimed at those who aren't GF, but may need to bring someone a meal with GF issues.  We are also addressing food allergies and diabetes and other special diets.  As a result I have been coming up with some basic GF cooking tips and thought I'd pass them along.

-You can not use any cooking ingredients that use Wheat, Rye, Barley or Oats.
     Seems silly to say if you are GF, but for the group I'm presenting to, this is rule #1, so I am adding it here.

-Thicken with cornstarch or potato flour if you need to thicken something.  Once you get in the habit of cooking GF you may find other alternatives.  These are just easy ones to start with.

-Season with herbs and spices and not seasoning packets, you can find mixes all over the internet that are strictly herbs & spices.  I usually just season by taste anymore.

-Gluten can be found in soy sauce, bbq sauce, all condensed soups, some spaghetti sauces, seasoning packets (taco seasoning, spaghetti sauce mix, dressing mixes, etc.), cold cereals, salsas, etc.  You will constantly be surprised where it will pop up.  Read labels.

-Use clean plastic cutting boards (do not use wood cutting boards, they trap gluten and can not be completely cleaned of gluten), plates, knives, etc.  If you are unsure about whether a dish has touched gluten, DON'T USE IT!!!
         -- I never set food that is GF directly on the counter. Even if the counter is clean, I can't guarantee someone didn't stick something with gluten on there when I wasn't looking.

-If you are going to make GF and food with gluten, make the GF first to avoid contamination.

-If you have any questions about whether something is GF, Google!  If you can't find the answer then call the company.  If all else fails, find something else to use.

-Casseroles are rife with gluten challenges.  Approach them carefully and be prepared to do some major adapting.  Or, like us, figure out the ones you like the best and say goodbye to the rest.  You will eat healthier, hopefully.

-Just because something says “Wheat-Free” does not mean it is GF. Newman's Own has a wheat free Oreo-like cookie that has rye -- Yep, learned that the hard way.  Luckily, my daughter didn't try if before we figured it out.

I'm sure I will add to this as I think of other things.  This is just the beginning.  If you think of other tips let me know and I will add them to the list.


Robin said...

Note to self...Just beacause sunflower seeds are GF doesn't mean that the ones in the cupboard are. They may be flavored and you may not know it. You'll ruin all the food for the cousin that is coming to visit by adding them to your chicken salad that you planned specifically because it is GF! Not that I know from experience or anything. Cooking GF is harder than you think when you aren't used to it.

Hyphen Interiors said...

Great post!! So nice to see someone educating others on this topic! Seriously let me know if you ever want my pretty comprehensive list of derivatives for gluten (or any of the top 8). So glad you enjoyed the gluten free recipe that I shared on The Small Things Blog!


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