Aviva Allen's Blog
Passover 2015: 8 Surprising Kosher for Passover Products
Roaming the Passover aisles in amazement of the latest offerings has become an annual tradition for me. While in the past I have presented my Dirty Dozen list, this year I came across quite a few positive additions so I wanted to put out a list that highlighted the good, the bad and the ugly. Find out which products are a #healthypassoverfind and which ones are a #passoverfail.
Here are 8 Surprising Kosher for Passover Products I found on the shelves for 2015:
1. Organic Coconut Water:
This is something that I was really shocked to see on the shelf this year. Coconut water has certainly gained popularity over the years due to its refreshing taste and electrolyte content, however, the majority of coconut water on the market is not organic. To find coconut water that is both organic AND kosher for Passover seems too good to be true.
2. Nut butters:
Over the last few years I have seen a number of companies producing kosher for Passover nut butter, including almond and cashew butters. On the one hand, I love that this is available (and there is certainly a convenience factor here), but at the same time, if you own a food processor, it is super easy to make yourself, tastier and it will save you money too. One small jar of almond butter retails for almost $20! Here is my recipe for Toasted Almond Butter if you want to give it a try.
3. K for P Quinoa:
Quinoa has been a controversial Passover food in recent years. While some rabbis have given it their seal of approval, others have been reluctant to do so. At this point, it is less of an issue of whether or not Quinoa is permitted, but rather relating to potential cross contamination. Some rabbis were instructing that if the Quinoa was grown in a certain part of the world and was certified kosher (year round) that it may be used during Passover. Other rabbis were still erring on the side of caution. Well, we can finally end that debate as we now have certified kosher for Passover quinoa. For those who require this certification, it is a great option!
4. Almond milk:
This was another item I was surprised to see. I guess it was inevitable. I mean, what is the dairy-free crowd supposed to eat with their rainbow-coloured Crispy-O’s breakfast cereal (see number 8)? Even though, assuming I had a Passover blender (which I don’t), I could easily make my own almond milk, I have to admit, I was a bit excited when I saw this. A closer look at the ingredient list quickly changed that feeling of excitement into horror. Cottonseed oil: a byproduct of the cotton industry and my biggest Passover pet peeve. Cottonseed oil is one of the worst oils we can consume and I look forward to a time when the kosher food industry will find an alternative. Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops and since cotton is not a food crop, the same regulations for pesticide use do not apply. The seeds of the cotton plant are turned into oil using an extraction method involving harsh chemicals such as hexane as well as other chemicals used to bleach and deodorize the oil. Cottonseed oil is something that I avoid at all costs and while I expect to find it in many Passover products, adding it to almond milk for people to drink is just going too far, in my opinion.
5. Organic Spelt Matzah:
The availability of organic spelt matzah is not new, although you definitely need to stock up early as the boxes tend to disappear from the shelves quickly. There are now even a few brands to choose from which is great to see. Something surprising this year was the newly added Non GMO Project Verified label, North America’s only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO (genetically modified organism) food products. While you might consider this to be redundant, since organic foods are non-GMO by default, it is still great to see Manischewitz showing its support.
6. Gluten-free Oat Matzah:
This year there seems to be a huge surge in gluten-free items. While many Passover items are naturally gluten-free, others are quite processed, so it is essential to read the ingredients. This brand of oat matzah is not new, however, previously we have only been able to get it through special order. It is nice to see it becoming more accessible and while it does come with a hefty price tag, for those who cannot tolerate gluten, it is currently the only option. Even though there are a number of gluten-free matzah style crackers on the shelves, since the matzah used at the seder must be made of only flour and water, they would not be acceptable. Hopefully the claim of “new improved taste” is accurate since my past experience with this matzah has been disappointing, taste-wise.
7. Organic grape juice – mini bottles:
We are not juice drinkers at my house, with the exception of a little grape juice for the kids on Shabbat and holidays. It is always frustrating when I need to purchase a large bottle when we only need a small amount. While small bottles have been available for some time now, this is the first time I have seen Kedem’s organic grape juice in small bottles and I am very excited about this.
8. Fruit-Flavoured Crispy-O’s:
The amount of added food dye including yellow #5 & #6 and red #40 is not all that surprising in this rainbow-hued Passover standard. If you have ever tasted Crispy-O’s cereal, the fact that they have resorted to giving away “20% more free” wouldn’t surprise you either. What does surprise me is that this stuff is still being sold…which means that people are still buying it. Please stop!!
Wishing you a happy and healthy Passover,