I am coordinating a bake sale for my daughter’s school next month and I have been asked to make sure it is entirely nut-free. To accomplish this it’s very important that I do my research on nut-safe baking mixes, avoiding cross contamination and understanding all of the facts about allergies. Luckily, our school handed out an important fact sheet and I’ve studied it thoroughly. To make our event safe and enjoyable here are some of the precautions we will be taking:
What Defines Nut-Free?: Children with nut allergies need to avoid both obvious foods with nuts but also food with hidden ingredients that may contain nuts. Nut-free means that food contains no nuts, nut oils or trace of nut proteins.
Read Food Labels: The best way to ensure nut-free baking is to avoid buying products that are unsafe. These foods are often labeled “Contains nuts, tree nuts.” “May contain nuts.” “Made in a facility that contains nuts.” or “Processed on shared equipment with nuts.” Food with these warning labels are NOT safe. Do not buy them. There is no comprehensive list of nut-safe baking mixes, but Cherrybrook Kitchen (pictured above), Hershey’s, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury are all considered safe at the present time.
How to Avoid Cross-Contamination: Before baking nut-free food be sure to thoroughly clean all of your cooking surfaces. These include counter tops, cutting boards, mixing bowls, utensils and anything that could possibly contain trace amounts of nuts. This will ensure that no nut proteins get into the food you are making. This is essential to making sure the goods you bring to the bake sale are entirely nut-free.
Pack and Label Your Baked Goods: When packing baked goods for a sale do NOT re-use any old packaging from your kitchen in case it has been in contact with any trace nut proteins. Be sure everything is wrapped thoroughly before removing it from your nut-free kitchen so they don’t come into contact with nut proteins while in transit. When arranging your wrapped baked goods on the bake sale table use a disposable or freshly washed tablecloth. IF you think something you are selling contains nut or nut extract be sure to label it and place it separately from the other baked goods on the table. You can never be too cautious.