The holidays are a great time for family to gather, especially at the dining room table eating a delicious meal.
If someone in your family has a peanut allergy, special precautions should be taken to make sure the holiday is safe, as well as delicious, for everyone.
Preparing the Home
The first step is to remove anything with peanuts or peanut byproducts from your kitchen and house. Look for places peanuts hide: bird seed and pet food, shells used as filling for pet beds, and even beauty products. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to prepare your home.
The best way to ensure counters, tables and other hard surfaces are residue-free is to use a grease-cutting dish detergent and warm water to clean counters. Dish detergents with oil-removing agents are strongest. Hard washable surfaces, like tables, chairs and door handles, should be cleaned with multiple cleaning agents. Try the dish soap and follow up with commercial cleaning wipes or a spray cleaner with paper towels.
Clorox and hand sanitizers may sanitize surfaces, but they do not remove peanut residue.
When washing dishes, cookware and eating utensils, scrape and wipe excess food off. If cleaning by hand, use hot water and a high quality grease-cutting dish detergent like Dawn for utensils and plates that will be shared. Rinse well and repeat if you are very concerned about transferring allergens. You could also use a dishwasher for a second pass – just be sure to use hot water with a thorough rinse cycle. You can use these methods to clean dishes, containers and cookware if your cookware is dishwasher-safe.
Sources: Diane Hartman/Suite101, Journal of Allergy and Immunology