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Summertime Hidden Allergens

The summertime bounty is upon us – cherries, peaches, berries and veggies galore. Below is a list of a few hidden allergens that you may be surprised to encounter this summer:

  1. Homemade jams and jellies.
    Last summer I took a jam making class and was surprised to learn that butter can be a common ingredient in homemade jam. When you bring the fruit up to a boil a foam forms on the top of the hot fruit. The most common way to get rid of that unsightly foam is to skim it off with a spoon, but another popular method is to add butter, margarine, or oil to the fruit mixture. I get a lot of homemade jams and jellies each year from loving friends and family, but I’ve never thought to ask if butter was used and rarely do they include ingredients on the jar. If you are concerned about a milk allergy, keep this in mind when buying or receiving homemade jams and jellies.
  2. Fruit and vegetable wash.
    Fruit and vegetable washes could include two potential allergens: “starch” — which could include corn, potato, rice, or wheat and /or citrus oils. The good news with this is it is easy to make your own from water and vinegar. I use 1 part water : 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle. I put my veggies in a colander, spray, scrub and rinse. This is important for melons also because cutting into them will cause whatever is on the skin to go down into the soft fruit.
  3. Sunscreen.
    Sunscreens can contain a whole slew of chemicals, nut oils, gluten, corn or other allergen ingredients. Navigating the sunscreen section with little ones waiting in the shopping cart isn’t always easy so doing your homework ahead of time is helpful.  A good place to start is Living Gluten and Grain Free’s list of gluten free sunscreens.
  4. Bug repellents.
    Similar to sunscreens, bug repellents can contain a slew of harmful chemicals and allergen ingredients. California Baby brand has a bug spray that doesn’t contain DEET or other top allergens, but it does contain citronella that could be irritating to some. There is also Bug Band, that contains geranium oil, but I like that it doesn’t have to come in contact with the skin, but can be put on a stroller, hat, or over clothes. In my case, I prefer to just put the kids in long sleeves, but luckily I don’t live in a buggy area.

Have a safe and happy summer!

Until next time,  Lisa

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