Whether you have been living gluten-free for years, or are just beginning we can all agree that food options are limited. Those converting to gluten-free diets find that many of the food in their kitchens are no longer viable options.
You will be happy to know that eggs, a popular staple in most kitchens, are a great gluten-free protein choice. That being said, eggs can be cross-contaminated with gluten in the kitchen easily due to the way they are prepared. You should be sure eggs are prepared in a contamination-free manner before consuming.
Although eggs are a safe choice for the gluten-free community, there are some precautions to take before you should eat them. Keep reading to learn how eggs are gluten-free and how to keep them gluten-free in the kitchen.
Eggs and Gluten — Cross-Contamination Risks To Watch Out For
Gluten exists in more foods than we may realize, but it is most prevalent in grains and wheat-heavy foods like baked goods. This is good news for egg-lovers since this means most animal products—including eggs—do not naturally contain gluten and are safe to eat when prepared correctly.
Even though eggs are a gluten-free protein option, They are a high-risk food for contamination. A high-risk food means that they may not be fully gluten-free by the time they end up on your plate. Here are a few ways that eggs can be cross-contaminated by gluten:
- Combined with ingredients that contain gluten
- Contact with other ingredients that contain gluten
- Contact with equipment that was used to cook food containing gluten
- Prepared in a restaurant
Combining Eggs With Other Ingredients That Contain Gluten
If you are cooking with eggs and notice that your dish causes a flare up, the culprit could be another ingredient. Eggs are frequently used in baked goods, or are combined with carbohydrates like bread, tortillas, and pancakes that will render your dish inedible.
The best way to avoid this is to figure out exactly which ingredient(s) are adding gluten to your meal. Once you have identified the gluten, you should remove and replace the ingredients with a gluten-free alternative.
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Eggs Contacting With Other Ingredients That Contain Gluten
Even if you did not use a gluten-containing ingredient in your meal, it is possible that they came into contact with one. It could be something as small as a bit of flour or crumbs spilled on the counter. This happens often in kitchens that cook both gluten and gluten-free meal.
For many with less sensitive gluten intolerance, this level of gluten contamination is inconsequential. Despite the minuscule levels of gluten, any gluten at all means the dish is no longer gluten-free. Even if some can tolerate a minute amount of gluten, those with celiacs disease will find this debilitating. Be sure to keep eggs separate from any contaminates.
Cooking Eggs With Kitchen Equipment That Has Cooked Gluten
Another risk of gluten contamination is in the kitchen equipment itself. If you live in a household where others prepare gluten in the same space, there is a heightened risk of cross-contamination.
Eggs are especially vulnerable to cross-contamination because they exposed to the mixing bowls, frying pans, spatulas, and even baking dishes that have come into contact with gluten. As soon as the egg shell is broken, they are very easily contaminated, making them unsafe to eat for anyone with gluten sensitivity.
The best way to avoid this is to have separate, gluten-free kitchen equipment stored away from the rest. Additionally, your eggs should be stored in a separate refrigerator if there is any gluten in there. All surfaces should be thoroughly washed and decontaminated before using to keep eggs gluten-free.
Eggs Prepared in a Restaurant
Restaurants a high-risk for gluten cross-contamination. When eating at a restaurant you should always let your server know that you need a gluten-free meal as soon as possible. This way, your server will be able to point out the restaurant’s gluten-free options to you as well as notify the kitchen that they may need to make special modifications on your order.
Restaurant kitchens also process a large volume of food every day on the same surfaces and equipment. This means that even if a restaurant makes your eggs without any gluten, they could still be contaminated by the kitchen’s equipment. You should always verify that the kitchen has a special procedure for gluten-free orders before consuming eggs from a restaurant.
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Trying to narrow down which foods you can eat when you are gluten-free is a pain, but thankfully, eggs do not contain any natural gluten. Eggs may be at high-risk of gluten cross-contamination, but now you have the knowledge to prevent it from happening. As long as you are careful in how you prepare eggs to avoid the many cross-contamination risks, they will remain gluten-free.