Thursday will be here before you know it. On tap for me: gluten-free pumpkin and apple pies. But do you have all the ingredients you need and are they safe?  Consider this your personal,  two-day reminder.

Gluten-Free ingredient check

I’m kind of pumped to get baking, but I have gotten caught over the years being out of certain products–  you know the ones– you “always have them on hand”..that is until you forgot to replace them last time. For me this reminder is most commonly for gluten-free flour, spices, and shortening.

  • Certain spices (nutmeg, ginger) and shortening I really only use between November and December, so I lose track of how much I have.
  • Gluten-free flour:  My main mixture I use all the time.  But I have a few recipes that call for sweet rice and brown rice flours.  Those I usually buy separately each year around this time.

But if you’re baking on Thanksgiving when stores are closed, you could be in a world of hurt!  I know this could happen to anyone, gluten-free or not, but it can be hard to find those gluten-free flours on short notice with limited stores available to you.  So consider this to be your reminder.

Are your ingredients still safe?

This question implies many things…is it still good as in — not gone bad?  Also, is it still gluten-free (both from the manufacturer and from cross contamination)?

Last week I was planning to use sugar for something when I found a good-sized speck of something in it.  It resembled a part of the flaky top of a newly toasted gluteny piece of bread.  How could that happen?  I’m not quite sure.  Unless my husband or 7-year-old daughter, who both like cinnamon and sugar on their toast, got into it to make more and somehow crumbs got in there?  On the other hand the speck could have been ground flax seed, which is gluten-free, but how would that have gotten in there?  Either way I’m baffled and don’t want to take the risk when baking this week.  So I dumped my several pounds of sugar into the garbage, cleaned out the container and then started over with a brand new bag.

Time for a new bag of BRM Brown Rice Flour

Time for a new bag of BRM Brown Rice Flour

Also with shortening and specialty flours they can go bad after a while.  So check your dates.  I have linked to the Crisco website, which offers great information on how long their product is shelf stable.  As for flours, Robert Landophi’s book Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook, basically says that if you purchased flours like Brown Rice, Amaranth, Buckwheat, Garbanzo, Quinoa, Soy and Sweet Rice for last year’s Thanksgiving feast and have the same bag now (like my Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour pictured on the right), you should replace it.  The only way these flours could possibly still be good now is if they would have been in the freezer this whole time. Even then — it may be time for a new bag.

And as always, it’s good practice to check on the gluten-free status of new ingredients you buy;  especially bouillon, which seems always change in their “glutenfreeness”.  McCormick single-ingredient spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc) are gluten-free.  But on their FAQ page there is additional information on a few other products.

So there you have it…Now you should get out your recipes, check your cupboards, pantries, refrigerators and freezers to make sure you have the ingredients you need for a family feast on Thursday!  Have a great time!

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