Have you ever noticed that packaged foods that are certified for Pesach (Passover) are very expensive? (How’s that for a nicely phrased understatement? )
After seeing the prices for some foods I want to use for Pesach that are certified for Passover use, I decided yesterday to get some more information about these foods and if they really need that additional Pesach supervision that I’ve been paying extra for until now. Although I have a few more items I want to call about tomorrow, the information I’ve learned will help me to buy a number of foods for Pesach at the price I pay year round, and I thought I’d share that with you. (However, it’s always good to ask your questions yourself.)
Quinoa - some people don’t use this because of the suspicion of it being kitniyos. Here in my city it’s accepted across the board that it’s not; I believe it was the local kashrus agency that did the research about if quinoa was kosher for Passover and brought it to public attention. My previous understanding was that it had to be purchased from one of two sources, both of which were much more expensive than what I can buy it for. My question was if I could use quinoa from any company or not. I called the OU (Orthodox Union) Hotline yesterday and was told that as long as it’s purchased in a sealed bag and is checked before Pesach (in case of accidental cross contamination), I can buy from whatever company I want. That means that I can buy from my usual bulk source and get a 25 lb for under $4 lb instead of paying between $5 – 6 for a 12 oz box. I had already decided I wasn’t going to use much quinoa if it meant paying over $7 lb – I’d rather buy meat for that price! I use quinoa year round so buying a 25 lb bag isn’t a waste for me, and this means I can use as much as I want for Pesach.
Nuts - any shelled nuts (ie without shells) that are whole and have no additives or preservatives can be used for Pesach even without certification. Be sure that there’s no BHA or BHT in the nuts you get. This is also something I use and buy in bulk year round – since I don’t have any unopened packages I’ll buy new ones for Pesach. I usually space the expenses of bulk nut purchases so that I don’t buy more than two a month, and since there are four kinds of nuts I’d like to get, this will be a big expense in the coming month for me. But it will all even out since I won’t have to buy nuts for a long time. I was told sliced almonds also have this classification, but nut flours don’t.
Dried fruit – all dried fruit needs to have a special certification for Passover. The exception to this is raisins that are grown in the US and are certified kosher for year round use. Since last month I bought a 25 (or 30?) lb box of raisins that meet this criteria and haven’t yet used them, this was good news to me.
Milk - last year dh asked about this and was told that we needed to use milk certified kosher for Passover. So I didn’t use any raw milk. This year I decided to ask for myself since after speaking to dh, I realized the answer was applicable to both pasteurized and raw milk – I thought the answer had been given expressly about raw milk. I was told that as long as it’s purchased before Pesach, it doesn’t need any Pesach certification. That means that this year we’ll be able to enjoy raw milk on Pesach.
edited to add – I just called again and was told that organic sucanat is okay (called back a second time and was told it’s not, so won’t be using this after all), as is extra virgin coconut oil (which was also mentioned in the comments section before I made this call). I asked about unsweetened coconut products but all of those will need Passover certification. It didn’t hurt to ask, though!
There are other foods that don’t require certification that I was already aware of – this is by no means an exhaustive list! These are all new to me, though.
I’m very pleased with all of this information. I thought I had no choice but to pay extra for Passover certification on the above items, and am glad to know that I can eat these foods just as affordably for Pesach as I do year round. And just as nutritiously, too!